‘It’s an opportunity to evaluate our work as organisers’
November 24 2019 01:27 AM
Khalid Mubarak al-Kuwari, director of Marketing at Local Organising Committee for Gulf Cup.

The 24th Arabian Gulf Cup is one of the most highly-anticipated football tournaments in the region and especially in Qatar this season. The Asian Cup champions will be hosting the tournament for the first time since 2004, when Qatar had won the tournament in a thrilling final that was decided on penalties against Oman.
Oman are back as defending champions, having beaten United Arab Emirates on penalties in January last year.
Talking ahead of the tournament, which will run from November 26 to December 8, the Director of Marketing at Local Organising Committee, Khalid Mubarak al-Kuwari, in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times spoke about the efforts his team are making to ensure a fantastic atmosphere for the fans at the two venues — Khalifa International Stadium and Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium.

At the community level, what has been your approach to ensure a wholesome experience for the fans?
An integrated marketing plan has been developed through the Local Organising Committee to promote the championship both inside and outside Qatar. Attracting all segments of the community is undoubtedly the key including attracting the residents who belong to Arab and Asian communities. Both are part of this plan where we had advertisements posted on social media platforms in Arabic and English in addition to billboards in the streets and various places in the country to introduce the public to the 24th Gulf Cup.

The Opening Ceremony usually gives an insight into any huge sporting event. What should the fans expect?
Let us focus on the pre-match entertainment, which includes a variety of events for the fans and activities within the stadium. We hope that the fans come to enjoy these events.

You took Sodeifi, the mascot of the tournament, to Kuwait and Oman. Could you please shed some light on the response you received in these friendly countries?
Of course. Sodeifi is the official mascot of the tournament. Part of our plans is to promote the championship within Qatar and outside also. In Qatar, we visited schools, government offices and private organisations. Then we moved to Kuwait and Oman to promote our championship. We visited schools and shopping malls in these two countries. We had a great time interacting with fans in Kuwait City and Muscat. Sodeifi was a big hit in these two friendly countries.

For the Qatar Football Association, it is huge to host two really big tournaments – Gulf Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. Your comments on this very big opportunity to prove the mettle of Qatar’s organisational capabilities.
When we host such popular tournaments, it is actually a real opportunity to put to use the great sports facilities in Qatar. The iconic Khalifa International Stadium is one of the stadiums of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In addition to that, it is another opportunity to evaluate our work as organisers and create qualified work force to organise any sporting event. After the events, a comprehensive strategy will be carried out by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and the Qatar Football Association.

Around 35,000 tickets have already been sold, which is very encouraging. But have there been any challenges in the run-up to the tournament so far?
We expect this number to double especially since the capacity of the Khalifa International Stadium is 40,000. We invite all football fans as well as residents of all nationalities to buy tickets as they are very reasonably priced. The ticket pricing is modest since you can spend QR50 to attend two games in one stadium through the website gulfcup2019.qa or through the sales centres in Souq Waqif, Villaggio, Qatar Mall, Festival and Katara.

How much of a difference in response to ticket sales have you seen with the tournament hosting all the members of the Gulf region?

There is no doubt that the Qatari fans come first and then the Kuwaiti fans and then fans from Oman.

With the commencement of Doha Metro’s Gold Line, maximum fan participation from the Gulf countries is assured. What are your expectations from the tournament in general?
Of course the operation of the metro line is an opportunity for the fans to experience the use of the service. I will be supporting my team in all matches but may the best team win the tournament.

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