All the stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, will be ready and commissioned before the end of 2021, HE Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary-general, Supreme Committee For Delivery and Legacy, told the Global Security Forum Wednesday.
Interacting with Mark Mazzetti, Washington Investigative correspondent, New York Times, at the Global Security Forum, at St Regis Doha, al-Thawadi said that all the infrastructure projects related to the World Cup are on time and will be completed as per the schedule.
“Two stadiums are already completed and opened. One will be opened by the end of this year. Two more will be completed by the first quarter of next year. All the stadiums will be ready, tested and commissioned before the end of 2021,” stated al-Thawadi.
“The metro rail work is progressing very well. We started from scratch and it is almost complete and will connect the stadiums. The remaining metro system will be tested and commissioned by the first half of 2020. All the expressways that we need for the 2022 FIFA World Cup will also be ready on time,” explained al-Thawadi.
“The next part is the operational one. We are taking great care in the operational aspect of the tournament. The most important part of it is the legacy. We started the preparations very early on and have already participated in major tournaments such as the Euro Cup, Russian World Cup among others. We will be hosting the Club football this year to gain more experience," continued al-Thawadi.
The official noted that the benefits of the legacy part will be felt in the country after three to four years of the tournament. “ People will start enjoying the fruits of the tournament in 2025 or 2026. Individuals and companies will benefit in a big way,” he maintained.
According to the official, the blockade on Qatar never impacted the progress of the World Cup works.
“Due to the blockade, we had to reassess the situation and the delivery companies. In the first two months of blockade it was a great challenge to find alternatives. But very quickly, we came into terms with reality and started exploring other places. It was a testimony of the resilience of not only of my team but of the country.To our surprise we found that the quality was much higher than the previous ones and in some cases the price was cheaper than the earlier ones,” described al-Thawadi.
“This is not a Qatari World Cup. It is a regional world cup for the Arab World. We wanted it that way right from the beginning and wanted it to be very inclusive,” he highlighted.
Al-Thawadi revealed that more than 260,000 people have registered as volunteers for the World Cup and a significant number of them are from the blockading countries.
“It shows that people are interested in engaging with us. We are still engaging with the people of the region and Qatar does not mix sports with politics,” he pointed out.
The official also felt that even before the blockade, there was some disinformation campaign against the World Cup. “There was an event in London which pointed fingers against 2022 World Cup. We understand that some entities within the blockading nations were associated with it and it was how such disinformation was spread,” he said.
“The 2022 World Cup will be a catalyst for positive change. We are not using it for any political leverage as Qatar’s borders are not closed to anyone and everyone is welcome,” he added.