Mohammed Al Khanji
Mohammed Al Khanji

News

‘The action on the pitch, passion in the stands and festive atmosphere will captivate the entire country’

Mohammed Al Khanji, Local and Regional Media Expert at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), has contributed to some of Qatar’s most important projects during his career – and now he is helping his country deliver the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East and Arab world. 

 

With only months to go until the big kick-off, Al Khanji is leading efforts with local and regional media to tell the story of Qatar 2022. Here, we speak to Al Khanji, who formerly worked with the Qatar Protection and Social Rehabilitation Centre and Dreama Orphans Care Centre, about his role and aspirations ahead of the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup™.

 

Mohammed Al Khanji

 

Tell us about your career and how you ended up working in the sports media.

 

I actually began my career in a different field entirely. After graduating from Qatar University with a business administration degree in 2003, I started working with stocks and real estate investments. But soon my love of football took over and I took a role as public relations manager with Qatar Stars League side Umm Salal Sports Club. There, I expanded my skills and became the official spokesperson for the club. Eventually I was responsible for all media operations and relations. Later I became a member of the National Sports Media Committee, which is part of Qatar Olympic Committee. That’s how I launched my career in the sports media. 

 

Why were you keen on joining the SC?

 

I really wanted to support the World Cup project. Having the chance to work in a role that combines my love of sport and passion for storytelling and connecting people is a rare opportunity. I felt my skills and experience would bring value and I wanted to make sure I was part of this historic event.

 

What do you do day-in and day-out at the SC?

 

I am responsible for local and regional media as well as local influencers. I manage a team whose job it is to distribute SC news and updates with media outlets in Qatar and across the Arab world. In addition to establishing channels to share written and video content, I also ensure we provide them with spokespeople for their programmes and interviews, organise press conferences to discuss our key messages and milestones, and provide the necessary access to journalists and local influencers to our stadiums and tournaments. Effectively, my role is to make sure that the many stories of Qatar 2022 reach the largest number of people in Qatar and throughout the region.

 

Mohammed Al Khanji

 

What do you love most about your work?

 

Having worked in the sports industry for more than 15 years, I wanted to work in an environment that would provide me with new challenges and experiences, and that’s exactly what working on Qatar 2022 provides. Every day, I am working with a talented team to build new relationships with journalists in an ever-changing media landscape. The closer we get to the tournament’s opening game, the greater the excitement builds, and that sometimes means more pressure. But on those days when you are busy in meetings and managing media operations around key milestones, knowing that you are working on a project of this scale is so motivating, making the extra work even more exhilarating. That is exactly what I love the most about my job.

 

What is your most cherished accomplishment so far?

 

During the FIFA Arab Cup qualifiers that took place in Qatar during the summer of 2021, we were able to generate more than 600 news stories in local and regional media. What made that number such a tremendous accomplishment was that the participating teams were in a medical bubble as part of efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. This meant journalists and media outlets had no access to them for face-to-face interviews. Instead, our team had to establish virtual contacts with players and managers from one side and journalists and editors on the other. Despite how challenging that was, we were still able to generate a tremendous amount of content. It showed me that when working with a group of talented and committed people, anything is possible.

 

Mohammed Al Khanji

 

What is the most important message you want to send to audiences about Qatar 2022?

 

For local audiences, I want to reiterate the message that everyone who lives in Qatar is a partner in the tournament’s success. That is why I am always adamant to involve members of our communities in all our stories. Ultimately, this is their tournament, and I look forward to their continued support right up until the final whistle. Regionally, I want to continuously remind audiences that this World Cup is for all Arabs. During the FIFA Arab Cup, for example, we provided broadcasting studios to non-rights holders from throughout the Arab world. The goal was to make sure that all our region’s media could take part in the success of the tournament. We want everyone to take part in Qatar 2022, regardless of whether they have the rights to broadcast matches or whether their country has qualified or not. Ultimately, that will be a measure of how successful we are.

 

What are you looking forward to the most during the tournament?

 

Working at the SC has been a huge addition to my life’s journey. It will be an experience that I will recount to my grandchildren for years to come. Even now, before the tournament kicks off, people I meet really value the work I do as soon as they know that I am part of the SC. I look forward to delivering on the trust that has been placed in me and enjoying a memorable tournament – one that will build on the FIFA Arab Cup. The action on the pitch, passion in the stands and festive atmosphere will captivate the entire country.
 

#Qatar2022