The Indian angle to Qatar WC

Nilangshu Dey.  

It comes along every four years and leaves you with lasting memories: football World Cups are indeed fascinating affairs. Russia hosted a fantastic 2018 World Cup, and with a little over three years to go, Qatar has stepped up its preparations for the next edition.

The 2022 World Cup is only the second World Cup to be held in Asia and the first on Arab soil. Among the many firsts are the construction of a fully air-conditioned stadium, a completely dismountable stadium and that the entire World Cup will be held within a 55km radius!

While all attendees are set to have a ball, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is in charge of the World Cup, has taken extensive measures to ensure the Indian community, which forms one-third of Qatar’s population, is closely involved with the WC.

“Indians are the largest expat community with over 700,000 people in Qatar. Indians are involved in various activities initiated by the government of Qatar, across sports,” Nilangshu Dey, president of the Indian Sports Center in Qatar, tells Sportstar.

One of the many community programmes that the Indian community adapted was the “Community Grant Scheme.” “This scheme is used to promote football at the grassroots level. The Indians are the first community to get this grant scheme to organise grassroots level tournaments. In 2016, we had 15 Indian schools and 45,000 Indian students participating and we held various inter-school football tournaments at various age groups. The funding comes from the SC,” explains Dey.

Another massive boost for Indians is the visa-on-arrival option. India is the only South Asian country to have this option extended to it.

Dey, who was the chief convener when Qatar hosted the 2006 Asian Games, elaborates that ISL’s Delhi Dynamos is the only Indian club to tie-up with the famed Aspire Academy. “Delhi Dynamos come to train for 15 days each year at Qatar’s Aspire Academy. This is the year of sports and cultural exchange between India and Qatar and that’s the reason why the SC is supporting so many exchanges.”

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Corrections & Clarifications: The article previously referred to Qatar hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2006. It was actually the Asian Games. The error is regretted.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 11:13:42 AM |

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