The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will leave a lasting economic and social legacy for the region, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) Secretary-General Hassan al-Thawadi told a distinguished gathering in Madrid.
Al-Thawadi’s address, at the Casa Arabe in the Spanish capital, also highlighted the potential for peaceful coexistence through sport, echoing the themes he touched upon during his speeches at the United Nations last month at Cambridge University and Chatham House in the UK.
¨Our region and their youngsters have a lot to offer, but they fight on a daily basis against stereotypes. We want to make sure that this World Cup leaves a lasting economic and social legacy,” the SC chief said in his address delivered in front of diplomats and dignitaries including Qatar´s ambassador to Spain, HE Mohamed bin Jaham al-Kuwari, and sports officials, the Director-General of Casa Arabe, Pedro Martínez-Avial, and the President of the Spanish Football Association, Juan Luis Larrea Sarobe.
“Sport is a platform where the principle of peaceful coexistence is brought forward. This World Cup in Qatar represents an opportunity for the region and especially for the young generations who are our future,” said al-Thawadi.
“We have a dream. We know it is big, difficult and represents a big challenge, but we won't stop when we are faced with challenges.”
Al-Thawadi added that Qatar believes in “mutual respect and peaceful coexistence,” saying, We are a mosaic of people of different nationalities, beliefs and cultures, living together and in harmony. In the organisation which I have the privilege to lead, 54 nationalities are working towards a common vision.¨
Casa Arabe is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year in the Spanish capital, and continues to grow in strength as a vital cultural and social platform which brings together the worlds of culture, sports and art, among others.
Also present at the renowned cultural institution was former Real Madrid President Ramon Calderon and former Spain Captain Fernando Hierro, as well as representatives from leading Spanish, Qatari and global media outlets and members of the general public.
Meanwhile, the President of the Spanish Football Association Juan Luis Larrea Sarobe added that the country was fully behind Qatar´s preparations for an innovative tournament in 2022.
¨We are close to a historic achievement, one which has been long sought by the Arab world. We have always seen Qatar as a unique host nation, an epicenter of modernity and innovation. Some of our best players know the Qatari passion for football and other sports,” said Sarobe.
“The links between the Arab world and Spain are strong, together we have lived important moments. We were very happy with the choice of Qatar.
¨Football is the strongest of bridges between cultures, and helps to bring together people, establish contacts and create deep friendships. We would like to repeat our World Cup win in South Africa in 2022. We know that many fans in Qatar follow our team and our clubs.
“Qatar, which has already hosted Asian Cup, Asian Games or the Handball World Cup, among many other major events, will add in this way another chapter to its significant hosting history. Their passion is contagious. We have seen the capacity of a country, to host the best events in the world.”