Qatar 2022 chairman: World Cup will dispel misconceptions
Qatar 2022 bid chairman Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani hailed Fifa’s “bold” decision to hand his country the right to stage the World Cup – and said the tournament will help to dispel misconceptions about the Middle Eastern state.
Deemed as the highest risk bid, Qatar beat off stiff competition from Australia, South Korea, the United States and Japan to win the right to host the tournament in 12 years’ time when Fifa’s executive committee cast their final votes behind closed doors in Zurich on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s important to acknowledge that Fifa has taken this bold decision,” said Al-Thani. “So we truly and honestly thank them from the bottom of our hearts on behalf of the Middle Eastern people for believing in us.
“We started off being written off. Being an unconventional bid, the bid that no one saw coming, no one saw that we had a chance to win.”
He added: “Today we celebrate, but tomorrow the work begins. We acknowledge that there is a lot of work for us to do, but we also stand by our promise to deliver and honour the sacred trust that was given to us by Fifa.”
Qatar’s final presentation to Fifa on Wednesday included details of their plans to use air-conditioned stadiums and training centres in order to combat the region’s intense heat, and Al-Thani said the extreme weather was just another reason for the naysayers to write them off.
“One of the most important preconceptions was that Qatar couldn’t do it because Qatar is too hot,” he said. “It was difficult for us to prove ourselves on the world stage.
“It is very important for us to have faith. Fifa had faith with South Africa in 2010. It is important for us to really get beyond these preconceptions.”
CEO of the Qatar 2022 bid Hassan Al-Thawadi added: “Qatar is opening its arms to the rest of the world and in doing so the misconceptions will be dissolved.”