Legacy has been a key element that Qatar has been focusing on, right from the beginning of the preparations of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, noted a top official of Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) at an international event in New York.
“From day one, legacy was at the forefront of our plans. Right from the bidding stage, every single project, every single penny spent in terms of infrastructure and other things was designed with legacy in mind,” said HE Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary-General, SC.
Al-Thawadi was interacting with Reshmin Chowdhury, a sports journalist, at the Concordia Annual Summit in New York on Monday on the topic ‘FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: Legacy Initiatives Beyond the Tournament’.
As for a question about labour conditions and reforms in the country, al-Thawadi said that hosting the tournament has a transformational power.
“It has a lot of impact in accelerating the infrastructure in the country as well as social reforms. The commitment towards labour reforms is embodied in Qatar National Vision 2030. We recognised that the World Cup would provide the momentum or become a vehicle to provide the reforms. We welcomed all the criticism and worked on them. The work that has been done is a benchmark in the region and it showcases that there is a commitment beyond the tournament.
These reforms are done in a way that they are sustainable and last beyond 2022.”
The official noted that Qatar has already delivered a legacy in labour reforms by setting a global benchmark. “An action that has become a global benchmark is about recruitment fees. We have made all the recruitment firms to reimburse the fees charged from the workers as recruitment fee. The companies volunteered to pay the recruitment fees which is around $28mn and out which $23mn has already been paid,” he highlighted.
Al-Thawadi pointed out that legacy on labour reforms has already been delivered and this is something that has been delivered before the tournament and will last beyond the tournament.
He said that the World Cup brings people together and celebrates humanity. “Great sporting events in history showcased the best in humanity. These are common opportunities and common celebrations. This is the biggest event in the post-Covid world that people will be able to celebrate together and that is reflected in record number of tickets that have been issued already. We are a hospitable and welcoming region. People might be from different backgrounds but once you reach our region you feel at home, no matter where you are from,” he highlighted.
“Everybody is welcome to Qatar. All communities are welcome and we respect all of them and we also request all to respect our culture and values. It is an experience to explore difference and more importantly to celebrate the coming together of humanity. We are ready to welcome the world and we are excited to experience the first World Cup in the Arab World, which will truly be a global event. We are about to make history,” al-Thawadi added.
Al-Thawadi highlighted the work of Generation Amazing, which is on track to reach 1mn beneficiaries.
“Since its launch, our human and social legacy programme, Generation Amazing, has been successful in using football as a tool to teach youth and other targeted communities important life skills, like teamwork, leadership and inclusion,” he said.
The SC’s commitment to drive workers’ welfare reforms and implement behavioural science projects to improve the impact of its programmes was also discussed by al-Thawadi.
The SC also participated in other panel sessions during the event. Mahmoud Qutub, executive director of Workers’ Welfare & Labour Rights, took part in ‘The Social and Human Legacy of the World Cup’, while Dr Fadi Makki, director, B4 Development, took part in the ‘Using Behavioural Insights at the World Cup’ session.
Generation Amazing discussed the role of women in shaping its programme and took part in the ‘Sports for Development Future’ panel. Generation Amazing also participated in a roundtable discussion co-organised by Laureus Sports for Good titled ‘Sports for Development and Leveraging Sports Mega Events’.
Meanwhile, the SC and Concordia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to share expertise and raise awareness of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 legacy projects.
Among the legacy programmes that will benefit from the collaboration are Generation Amazing, the B4 Development Foundation and Workers’ Welfare, according to a press statement by the SC.
Al-Thawadi said, “We are very pleased to formalise our strong working relationship with Concordia. Over the years, the summit has been an invaluable platform to share the story of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup, which will be a game-changer for our country and region. Over the past decade, our legacy programmes have been busy making a positive impact in Qatar and across the globe. We look forward to working with Concordia as we strive to achieve our legacy goals.”
Matthew Swift, co-founder and CEO, Concordia, added: “We are delighted to formalise our partnership with the SC and support Qatar in its efforts to deliver meaningful impact through its various legacy programmes. With only weeks to go until the big kick-off, we are confident this edition of the FIFA World Cup will have a hugely positive impact on Qatar, the Middle East region and globally.”
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