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Can the 2022 World Cup Unify a Post COVID-19 World?

Main Stage



  • Ian Bremmer opened the session by asking Hassan Al Thawadi about the daunting task that Al Thawadi has of bringing the world together for the FIFA World Cup in 2022 in the wake of COVID-19. In discussing the immediate steps FIFA took to combat the coronavirus, Al Thawadi shared his opinions on the advantages of maintaining a modicum of normalcy in the governing body’s operations while balancing the paramount need for safety as the COVID-19 era pushes on. Observing the successful models employed by other sports leagues and tournaments has been, and will continue to be, paramount for FIFA as it strives to determine the best strategies for ensuring the safe accessibility and affordability of the World Cup. 
  • Bremmer broached the topic of how Qatar’s relations with its neighbors may play a role in the participation and attendance of the World Cup. Al Thawadi discussed his desire to separate sports from political agendas, pushing the point that sporting events are prime platforms for breaking down cultural and ideological barriers. He invited the world to view events like the World Cup as opportunities for individuals to come together to learn from one another as they play and cheer side by side. In effect, Al Thawadi bestowed his confidence on Bremmer of the ability of the current COVID-19 climate and the historic role of the World Cup to continue to act as global unifiers of humanity.

“COVID has become a unifier. To a large extent, it has unified humanity in terms of its impact. We’ve always said that sports and the World Cup have been platforms for bringing people together […] I think today more than ever we need to harness and utilize as many of these opportunities and platforms as possible, and in particular this grand global platform in really bringing people together and celebrating humanity,” Hassan Al Thawadi


Session Speakers