HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani meeting with FIFA president Joseph Blatter on Sunday. The meeting at Al Bahr Palace dealt with Qatar-FIFA relations and the prospects of developing them. It also addressed a number of topics related to Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. HH Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad a-Thani, the secial representative of the Emir, attended the meeting.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Sunday held discussions on Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup.
The talks at the Al Bahr Palace came ahead of the FIFA Executive Committee’s meeting in Zurich on March 19 and 20 where a final decision on the dates for the event would be made.
A FIFA task force had announced its recommendation last month for a “late November to late December” winter World Cup following a meeting in Doha. It had also said that the tournament should be shortened.
Blatter expressed his appreciation to the Emir about Qatar’s commitment to host an outstanding edition of world’s greatest sporting event.
The FIFA chief pointed out that he saw "major positive developments", especially with regards to the workers' welfare standards presented by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy in its recent meetings with the FIFA Executive Committee.
“It was important for me to have an opportunity to get the latest information directly from the highest political authority ahead of the executive committee next week,” said Blatter.
“As various human rights groups have recently noted, progress has been made already, especially with regard to the welfare standards introduced by the Supreme Committee relating to 2022 construction sites," he said.
Blatter added that HH the Emir had given his “personal commitment” to the welfare of migrant workers involved in development work for the event.
“It is encouraging to hear the Emir’s personal commitment to workers’ welfare and to get a sense of the improvements planned for all workers in Qatar,” said the FIFA leader who returned to Zurich after the meeting.
He added that all stakeholders should make a “collective effort” for the success of the World Cup which, he said, could act as a catalyst for social change.
“It is clear that Qatar takes its responsibility as host seriously and sees the FIFA World Cup as a catalyst for positive social change,” he said.
Human rights groups have backed Qatari reforms in recent weeks, especially the proposed move to electronic payments, which should ensure many staff get paid on time.
Blatter did not visit any construction sites. FIFA said that was the responsibility of secretary-general Jerome Valcke, who was in Doha last month, and at the time visited some of the sites.
Earlier this month, Qatar said it would more than double the number of migrant labourers in the country to 2.5 million by 2020.
Sheikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman bin Nasser al-Thani, a senior businessman and chairman of the Daruna conglomerate, told a conference in Doha that the number of workers would reach “2.5mn within three to five years”.
Sunday’s meeting was also attended by HH Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, the personal representative of HH the Emir.