State of Qatar and INTERPOL agree to continue Project Stadia
The second day of the Last-Mile Security Conference concluded with the signing of an agreement between the State of Qatar and INTERPOL.
Organised by the Safety & Security Operations Committee (SSOC) of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, the conference brought together security experts and law enforcement agencies from Qatar and around the world to reaffirm Qatar’s readiness to host a safe FIFA World Cup™ when it takes place in the Middle East and Arab world for the first time later this year.
The agreement signed by the State of Qatar and INTERPOL will see the continuation of Project Stadia, an initiative established in 2012, with funding from Qatar, to benefit safety and security planning for mega sporting events around the world.
Major General Eng. Abdulaziz Al Ansari, SSOC Chairman, signed the agreement along with Stephen Kavanagh, Executive Director of INTERPOL Police Services. The agreement comes as part of a series of bilateral agreements between the State of Qatar and other countries participating in the International Police Cooperation Centre (IPCC). The bilateral agreements were also signed by Brigadier General Ibrahim Al Mohannadi, SSOC Head of Legal and Communications.
During the signing ceremony, Kavanagh commended Qatar’s efforts over the last ten years in relation to Project Stadia, which he believes will have a transformative effect on the way countries prepare to host major sporting events. Kavanagh specifically mentioned the way Project Stadia created a mechanism for FIFA World Cup™ organisers to work closely with a number of international bodies, including INTERPOL, FIFA and the World Health Organization.
Falah Al Dosari, Project Stadia Project Manager, also spoke at the conference, saying the extension of Project Stadia beyond Qatar 2022 is testament to its effectiveness. In particular, he spoke of Qatar’s success in building local capacities through the project, thereby preparing them to work locally with law enforcement agencies and globally on other mega sporting projects.
Al Dosari added that Qatar’s role extends beyond Project Stadia, and that it forms a major strategic strength for the country, positioning itself as an expert that can support the international community in facing security challenges that arise from hosting major sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup™.
By extending Project Stadia for an extra two years until 2024, Al Dosari is certain that Qatar can now play an active role in supporting other countries as they prepare to host major sporting events. Al Dosari also spoke about the desire of many countries to extend bilateral relationships beyond 2024, reflecting the immense need for this kind of work on the global stage.
Al Dosari mentioned that Project Stadia was able to create an international database and methodology that can be used by law enforcement agencies during the planning stage for tournaments and mega sporting projects, and that it was instrumental in supporting security efforts during the previous edition of the FIFA World Cup™, which was held in Russia. Moving forward, Al Dosari said that Project Stadia will continue to support countries through training, exchange of expertise and data collection.
Additionally, Colonel Khaled Al Kaabi spoke about the importance of the IPCC in exchanging information and creating a safe environment for fans attending Qatar 2022, before Brigadier General Al Mohannadi delivered a comprehensive presentation that summarised key findings. The conference programme concluded with final remarks by Major General Eng. Al Ansari, who reaffirmed Qatar’s readiness to host a safe and secure tournament – one that is open to everyone. He invited fans from around the world to enjoy the tournament while learning about the country’s culture and heritage.