Qatar’s successful staging of the FIFA World Cup was a celebration of humanity and a truly transformational event for the entire Arab world, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy HE Hassan al-Thawadi told the Global Security Forum, which concluded in Doha on Wednesday.
In a fireside chat he stated that the tournament provided a platform for uniting fans and dispelling stereotypes – while showcasing the power of major sporting events.
“What makes me proud is that 13 years ago we approached this tournament in a unique and innovative way. We recognised its transformative power for Qatar and the region – and were able to deliver operational excellence and the best World Cup in history,” said al-Thawadi.
“The compact concept meant fans and players were in one place. It resulted in the most goals ever in the World Cup and some of the most exciting matches. There were representatives of all confederations in the last 16 and the greatest final of any sporting event. Fans watched more than one match a day, with some people attending every single match. I don’t think this will ever be repeated. It was a life-changing experience for so many people.”
Al-Thawadi said safety and security were delivered at the highest level during the 29-day tournament, which culminated with Argentina lifting the trophy at Lusail Stadium.
“There were many questions in the build-up about fans and riots and hooligans,” said al-Thawadi. “The first aspect for us as organisers was prevention – identifying troublemakers and working out how to manage and diffuse potential situations, with a goal of making sure people can have fun without an overwhelming security presence.
“I can only commend the work that was done. There were many lessons learned and now we are in discussions with future hosts who want to discuss our experience and see how it can be applied to their own events.”
The success of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup – the first staging of the tournament in the Middle East and Arab world – speaks volumes for the power of football, he added.
HE Hassan al-Thawadi at the Global Security Forum.