Hassan al-Thawadi, the Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), has said there will be no restrictions on fans from any country to travel to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.
Hundreds of thousands if football fans from GCC are expected to pour into Qatar to watch the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East.
Al-Thawadi said fans from all countries – including Saudi Arabia – are welcome to watch the mega tournament, despite the blockade of Qatar, which has entered the third month. The SC secretary-general was not concerned that because of the GCC crisis many Gulf fans would not travel to Qatar, even though the World Cup is five years away.
“This is a World Cup. The nature of the football is it’s a game for the people. It’s a game that is meant to differentiate between political ideology and it’s actually promoting unity, more than anything else. From our side everybody is welcome. The whole world is welcome, we have always said that,” al-Thawadi said on Thursday at the unveiling of the Al Thumama Stadium design at the Hamad International Airport.
“This is a World Cup and a platform to bring people together at a time when unity is of utmost importance. Therefore we are not restricting anybody from attending. As a matter of fact, today everybody is welcome. We have not restricted anyone from coming. It will be a shame if people from any GCC country miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch football World Cup in the Middle East. If anyone takes a unilateral action, that is something out of our control,” he said.
The SC secretary general said the 2022 World Cup is an opportunity to promote Middle East unity. “This is a World Cup to bring people together, to promote Middle East unity, culture and heritage. And more importantly it is a platform to bring the east and the west together among many other initiatives that we have, that is the need at this point in time in the world,” he said.
“We are in co-ordination with our Arab brothers. In the end, simply put the rest of the Arab world is still supporting this World Cup and they are with us,” al-Thawadi added.