Qatar ready to deliver grand spectacle

Fatma Al Nuaimi.

Fatma Al Nuaimi. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

With a little over 150 days to go for the first­-ever FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the local organising committee is confident of delivering a memorable tournament.

With the infrastructure for the global showpiece in place, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy is working on enhancing fan experience, according to communications executive director Fatma Al Nuaimi.

Ever since Qatar was awarded the hosting rights in 2010, the country has been under the scanner on several issues.

“It has been quite a journey. When we won the rights, we were scrutinised by the media on issues from corruption and human rights to workers’ welfare. For us, it’s about addressing those concerns and using the World Cup as a catalyst for change,” she said.

On the social aspect of the tournament — workers’ welfare and human rights — the development and transformation in the 10 years had been major, she said. New minimum wages had been introduced and employment regulations changed to the benefit of workers, Fatma said.

She also played down concerns that it would be an expensive World Cup for fans and pointed to the demand for tickets from around the globe.

“We have had plenty of interest in the first and second phases of ticket sales. People want to be at the tournament.

“Top countries that have applied for tickets are Argentina, Mexico, USA, UK, UAE and Germany,” she said.

Fatma hopes the World Cup will boost Qatar’s image.

“There is a negative misconception of us in the media. The biggest takeaway for us from the World Cup would be them [fans] leaving with good memories and a better understanding of the region,” she said.

(The writer was in Qatar at the invitation of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy)

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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 4:21:20 pm |