As the action in stadiaeated up, of Russia hculminating in a thrilling final between France and Croatia earlier this week, many converged in at the Arabic Cultural House – The Divan in Berlin Zehlendorf for a public viewing organised by Qatar’s Embassy to Germany.
On the sidelines, with Qatar set to host the next FIFA World Cup in 2022, Qatar’s ambassador to Germany, Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, spoke to German Football Ambassador, the organisation which was founded in 2011 by Roland Bischof to award German coaches and players whose appearance and commitment contribute to the positive image of football and Germany.
How did you like this year’s World Cup overall – the performances of the teams, the organisation, the fans? And did you find something extraordinary that impressed or amused you?
Sport is an extremely unifying force that can bring together people from different countries to share significant moments together. This year’s World Cup was no exception. It was a pleasure to witness such abundance of talent and determination from all the teams and incredible support from the fans. Russia was extremely successful in ensuring that the tournament unfolded flawlessly; the games did not fall short of surprises on the football pitch, as shown by Croatia, unexpected but well-deserved. We are looking forward to seeing Germany back to win the World Cup again.
You have organised a public viewing in the Arabic Cultural House in Berlin. You not only invited high-ranking guests or officials but also opened your doors for the neighbours and their children, too. Is that common in Qatar?
It is part of the culture of Qatar and the identity of its citizens to open the country’s doors and welcome people from all over the world and from different walks of life. Qataris have an extremely strong sense of community and we are eager to share our history and culture with the world and, in turn, learn and enrich ourselves by interacting with people from different countries. The Arabic Cultural House – Der Divan is embodiment of this spirit, it is a meeting point though which Qatar wishes to be known and come closer to the community in Berlin.
How did you, your guests and neighbours enjoyed the football evenings?
It has been a true pleasure to extend Qatar’s hospitality to our friends and neighbours, spending multiple warm summer evenings sharing our common passion for football and thoroughly enjoying the games. I believe that all the participants felt welcomed and enjoyed sharing their expectations and impressions regarding the games while relaxing in the beautiful grounds of the Arabic Cultural House – Der Divan.
Qatar will host the next World Cup. With our charity organisation we have been twice in Doha and have been impressed about friendliness and hospitality in the country. What can guests from all over the world expect in your country?
As Qatar will be the first country in the Arab region to host the football World Cup, the expectations are high and Qatar is working steadily to deliver an exceptional tournament on all aspects and to represent the entire Arab region. Qatar is preparing to welcome visitors and fans from all over the world, offering an amazing tournament and a chance to experience the Qatari and Arabic hospitality. The matches will take place in seven different cities in Qatar. Visitors can expect eight new and renovated stadiums, characterised by state-of-the-art designs and facilities.
Many people do not know Qatar, but have a negative opinion about due to one-sided coverage or “fake news” in media. How do you feel about and what do you like to tell them?
Everyone is welcome to visit us in Qatar and form their own opinions regarding the country. I believe that anyone, upon experiencing first-hand the reality of Qatar’s hospitality, traditions and values, will be convinced that certain opinions are circulated for the sole purpose of undermining Qatar in the region and abroad.
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