Qatar 2022 Secretary General Hassan al-Thawadi told the first MEED Sports Business Forum Doha on 5 February that Qatar has placed the FIFA World Cup Finals in 2022 at the centre of its long-term economic and social development plan.

“When we submitted our bid, we recognised that hosting the World Cup could play an important role in realsing this goal, and we worked to ensure that our plans were fully integrated with the the national vison,” Al-Thawadi said. “Our legacy planning has already started and we want to make the most of the unusually longer period that we have on our hands between the award of the event and the event actually taking place.”

“We are already looking into ways that we can capitalise on the economic opportunities that the World Cup will bring, and ensuring that these opportunities contribute to diversifying the local and regional economies,” Al-Thawadi said. “The World Cup can drive involvement from the private sector and we are exploring different models to ensure this involvement. For example, encouraging public private partnerships to ensure private sector involvement.”