Leaders from the Ministry of Public Health, World Health Organisation (WHO), FIFA, and Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) convened recently for the second Sport for Health Steering Committee meeting in Geneva.
In October 2021, the four organisations signed a unique three-year partnership to make the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 a beacon for physical and mental health promotion, and a model for ensuring future mega sport events are healthy and safe.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, chaired the Steering Committee meeting during which leaders discussed a wide range of health actions delivered to date by the Sport for Health partners under three key pillars: Health Promotion; Health Security and Health Communications.
The topics on Health Promotion included: Physical Activity: The Bring the Moves social media campaign encouraging children to be more physically active; Nutrition and Healthy Diets: Almost one third of food options at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stadiums met the WHO criteria for healthy food; Mental Health: Installation of 32 “Friendship Benches” – one for each nation competing in the eight tournament stadiums to promote mental health and physical activity and Tobacco Control: Ban on tobacco and e-cigarettes at the stadiums.
Under Health Security, the topic discussed included extensive work to ensure a safe FIFA World Cup for all attendees, including emergency preparedness and response, food safety, infectious diseases, drug and medication control, sun and heat awareness, air and water quality, and the delivery of regular training and simulation exercises.
HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, said: “The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was a unique event in the history of FIFA World Cups for many reasons. I am proud of the achievements of the Sport for Health partnership and its positive impact on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. This unique partnership was a major factor in helping Qatar deliver the healthiest and safest FIFA World Cup in history. I extend my thanks to all staff and to the leaders of WHO, FIFA and the SC for their commitment today to working together to ensure we pass on the lessons learned from this experience to organisers of future mega sporting events.”
HE Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary general, SC, said, “Qatar’s vision for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was always clear: to deliver the best edition of the tournament in its 93-year history, gather the world in the Middle East for the first time in a global celebration, and deliver a sustainable and impactful legacy for Qatar, the region and the world. Set against the challenges of Covid-19, we achieved all this, and more.
“Throughout, the Sport for Health partnership has not only been a key pillar in delivering the healthiest world up ever but also in ensuring that best practices were developed and shared for future mega-events. We look forward to sharing that knowledge, contributing to the success of future events around the world, and adding to the profound legacy that our world cup leaves behind.”