The Business Year

Hassan Al Thawadi Secretary General, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

QATAR - Economy

Hassan Al Thawadi

Secretary General, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

Bio

Hassan Al Thawadi is Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the organization charged with delivering the infrastructure and host country planning and operations for the FIFA World Cup 2022™. He is also Chairman of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC, the joint venture between Qatar and FIFA that is responsible for leading the tournament’s planning and delivery. His appointment in 2011 as Secretary General followed his role as CEO of Qatar’s 2022 Bid Committee. A lawyer by profession, Al Thawadi previously served as General Counsel for Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Qatar Holding. He holds board positions at QIA, Katara Hospitality, Qatar International Islamic Bank and Qatari Diar amongst others.

With the tireless work of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Qatar has forged a path toward becoming a leading sports hub in the MENA region.
How has the pandemic shaped the run up to the organization of the event for the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy?

Hassan Al Thawadi: Our journey to Qatar 2022 started in 2010, so the pandemic was not the defining moment of our journey to the tournament by any means. The pandemic was our biggest challenge though, and three years on, the world seems to be getting back to a new norm. With the global vaccine rollout taking effect in many countries, and travel confidence returning to many consumers, we are confident we will see many football fans travel to Qatar later in 2022. Given our record-breaking global hospitality and ticket sales, much of which hit the market for fans mid-pandemic, it is looking certain we’ll see some good crowds in Qatar for the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world. We continue to be extremely diligent and work hand-in-hand with Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health, WHO, and FIFA to make ensure this year’s tournament is a safe one for everyone involved. Qatar paved the way globally for the safe return of sport and professional football during the pandemic, successfully hosting 77 games during the AFC Champions League East and West matches, including the final, via innovating a secure bio-bubble concept that set an international benchmark at the time. Qatar also hosted the FIFA Club World Cup 2020 amidst a secure bio-bubble, marking the first FIFA tournament during the pandemic. More recently, we successfully hosted 32 matches during the inaugural FIFA Arab Cup. The tournament witnessed the highest attendance ever at a football match in Qatar where over 63,000 fans attended the Qatar v UAE match during the quarter-final stage at Al Bayt Stadium.

Qatar has created a multi-million sports industry thanks to the hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022. How will the committee be engaged in other potential bids?

Hassan Al Thawadi: Qatar has always positioned itself as a leader in sport, hosting a wealth of sporting events dating back to the 1970s, and the FIFA World Cup will not be the last for us. The country has hosted over 600 sporting events since it won the hosting rights to the World Cup, and many of these will continue post-2022 as we look to help the country achieve its 2030 vision. Qatar will continue to host a number of annual sporting events such as the WTA Qatar Ladies Open and Qatar ExxonMobil, Commercial Bank Golf Masters, Grand Prix of Qatar and the Formula One Qatar Grand Prix to name but a few. When the curtains come down on 2022, the country will also be gearing toward hosting yet another memorable edition of the Asian Games in 2030. We are also bidding for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup. I am sure that many of the talented individuals we have hired over the last decade or so will continue to help Qatar deliver these sporting events. I am also sure that through educational program such as our Josoor Institute, we will continue helping develop the next generation of sporting and events professional for the region who will continue delivering work class events for years to come.

What will be Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022’s legacy for the world?

Hassan Al Thawadi: Legacy lies at the heart of this entire project. We have always believed this World Cup will leave behind a positive social, economic, and environmental impact not just for the people of Qatar, but the region as well. Hosting a sporting mega event of this scale for the first time in the Middle East and Arab world will have an impact on the perception of the entire region and we are confident it will help breakdown many of the longstanding stereotypes that exist. With an expected million plus fans travelling to the country, and over 6 billion tuning in to watch from around the world, it’s an unrivalled opportunity to introduce the world to a new region and all it has to offer and dispel some of the misconceptions people have about this part of the world.

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