Organising a mega sporting event like the FIFA World Cup is a huge undertaking, but for Qatar, it was even bigger. Since its bid to host the 2022 edition of the competition was voted in 2010, the Middle Eastern country did everything in its power to put up a show for the ages.
Building seven new stadiums from scratch and renovating another one was only part of the plan. Hundreds of new hotels were also erected, as well as an extension of the Hamad International Airport in Doha and building a new subway system. Everything was completed in time and went off without a hitch, as the organisation was praised by players and fans alike.
“This will going to be the best-ever edition of the FIFA World Cup,” said Gianni Infantino, the President of FIFA, before the start of the tournament and Qatar duly delivered on its promise, confirming Infantino’s assumption, despite many not believing it.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup not only became a beacon of football, it also is a huge part of a legacy left by the competition in Qatar, which united people from different cultures and backgrounds through its sheer excellency throughout a month that will remain in history.
On the outskirts of the competition, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy has also strived to create an environment of accessibility and inclusion, with several events organised in Doha over the past weeks.
One of them was ‘The Power of Innovation for a Post-Pandemic World”, an event held at Katara Cultural Village in Doha and focused on ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing at all ages, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, organised by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The event was attended by H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Public Health, Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Microsoft and Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FIFA World Cup Ambassadors David Beckham and Nadia Nadim, and football legends Didier Drogba and Michael Essien. The event also looked at how innovation in medicine and science can help prevent a global pandemic in the future.
“Our ambitions for this tournament were grand and I’m proud to say we have been able to achieve them. Uniting people, breaking down social barriers and bridging the gap between East and West are all part of the legacy of staging the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world,” said H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General, SC, and Chairman, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC.
In Al Thawadi’s acception, Qatar has delivered a groundbreaking edition of the tournament. As well as being the first FIFA World Cup organised in the Middle East, Qatar 2022 also delivered the most compact edition of the event, allowing fans to attend more than one match a day. It has also delivered numerous legacy programmes related to human, social, economic and environmental projects. “Global sporting events have a spark that inspires us all. What we need to do is ensure this spark doesn’t just remain in Qatar – but across the Middle East and around the world. It has broken down stereotypes and create bonds. Our responsibility, no matter who we are, is to take that spark and start planting the seed internationally because we need more opportunities to bring people together as a global community. For me, that’s one of the biggest legacies of this World Cup,” added Al Thawadi.