France football legend Claude Makelele believes the 2022 FIFA World Cup will make a positive difference to the long-term development of football due to Qatar’s use of cutting-edge technology.
The iconic defensive midfielder, who helped France reach the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, is renowned as a pioneer in his position, and the 44-year-old was quick to identify the innovative elements of Qatar’s tournament preparations during an exclusive interview with www.sc.qa.
Makelele, currently the coach of Belgian side KAS Eupen, said Qatar is at the forefront of football’s evolution due to the technology being developed ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “Every World Cup has distinct, unique elements and I believe the use of technology will make 2022 special,” said Makelele, who won 71 caps for France.
“Last year, the football world took notice of the stadium cooling at Khalifa Stadium. I also understand that Qatar is using technology to give visiting fans a connected tournament experience.”
Makelele continued: “Football has developed over the last few years due to the use of technology – both on and off the pitch – and Qatar’s efforts will further contribute to the growth of the sport. During my playing days, I was a beneficiary of technology and I admire Qatar’s efforts in this area.”
In addition to developing cooling technology, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the body responsible for delivering the infrastructure required for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, launched the Challenge 22 competition in 2015 to inspire innovation.
The SC also set up the Qatar Innovation Community in order to accelerate Qatar’s innovation capability and knowledge capital.
Makelele, who won the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, also praised the compact nature of Qatar’s tournament. Players, fans and officials will stay in one place throughout the tournament, while the maximum travel time between stadiums will be just one hour. If they wish, fans will be able to attend more than one game a day in the early stages of the tournament.
“It will be a dream World Cup for the coaches of all 32 participating teams,” said Makelele. “Players who get niggles in Qatar can recover while staying at the same venue as their team-mates. This means coaches could get continuity in team selection and their pre-tournament strategy will therefore work better.” Makelele also praised Qatar’s passion for football and said he was looking forward to the second FIFA World Cup to be held in Asia after playing in the first, jointly hosted by the Korea Republic and Japan, 16 years ago. “The people of Qatar are passionate about football and the World Cup will be a dream for people living there,” said Makelele. “In 2002, I witnessed the World Cup’s rich flavour being enhanced in Asia and I am sure the world will see it again in 2022.” (sc.qa)
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