calendar_today March 16, 2023

Qatar 2022 described as ‘celebration of humanity’ at Global Security Forum

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H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi discusses FIFA World Cup™ delivery during fireside chat

SG Global Security Forum

H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi described Qatar’s successful staging of the FIFA World Cup as a celebration of humanity and a truly transformational event for the entire Arab world during the Global Security Forum in Doha.

The Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy was speaking during a fireside chat with Kevin Baron, Executive Editor of Defense One. Al Thawadi said the tournament provided a platform for uniting fans and dispelling stereotypes – while showcasing the power of major sporting events.

“What makes me proud is that 13 years ago we approached this tournament in a unique and innovative way. We recognised its transformative power for Qatar and the region – and were able to deliver operational excellence and the best World Cup in history,” said Al Thawadi.

“The compact concept meant fans and players were in one place. It resulted in the most goals ever in the World Cup and some of the most exciting matches. There were representatives of all confederations in the last 16 and the greatest final of any sporting event. Fans watched more than one match a day, with some people attending every single match. I don’t think this will ever be repeated. It was a life-changing experience for so many people.”

SG Global Security Forum chat

Al Thawadi said safety and security were delivered at the highest level during the 29-day tournament, which culminated with Argentina lifting the trophy at Lusail Stadium.

“There were many questions in the build-up about fans and riots and hooligans,” said Al Thawadi. “The first aspect for us as organisers was prevention – identifying troublemakers and working out how to manage and diffuse potential situations, with a goal of making sure people can have fun without an overwhelming security presence.

“I can only commend the work that was done. There were many lessons learned and now we are in discussions with future hosts who want to discuss our experience and see how it can be applied to their own events.”

The success of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup – the first staging of the tournament in the Middle East and Arab world – speaks volumes for the power of football, said Al Thawadi.

“We brought people together and created opportunities for celebration without fear of security. Fans walked into stadiums as opponents and walked out celebrating, regardless of the result. For example, after Saudi beat Argentina, we saw both sets of fans celebrating together. There was human-to-human interaction and these little things build points of contact, and do wonders towards breaking down stereotypes and appreciating people of different backgrounds. These are seeds we need to nurture more and more.”

Global Security Forum fireside chat

Al Thawadi went on to say Qatar 2022 had united the Arab world like never before.

“The tournament showcased the best in us – hospitality, celebration, festivities. It broke down a lot of stereotypes. It was the most inclusive tournament ever. Four Arab teams were represented and all four were playing on home ground. There was a sense of Arab unity and ownership, a sense of pride. Arab people felt represented. We showcased an Arab nation’s ability to execute at the highest level and do it in a safe manner. We celebrated together, made friends, and people walked away with a positive view. It was a celebration of humanity.”

Al Thawadi said he expected Qatar to continue hosting sporting events.

“There is a wealth of experience to build upon. In terms of the country, we are hosting the AFC Asian Cup in 2024 and the Asian Games in 2030. Major sporting events have always been part of our vision as we recognise their transformative power.”

Organised by The Soufan Center and Qatar International Academy for Security Studies, the Global Security Forum brings together an international network of senior officials and experts, including ministers, heads of security agencies, prominent experts, academics, journalists and thousands of attendees.

The invitation-only event provides a dynamic platform for international stakeholders to convene and address the international community’s leading security challenges. This year’s central theme is ‘Reshaping the Global Order’, with the forum focussing on a range of topics, including the global energy crisis, great power competition, the war in Ukraine and the evolution of global terrorism.

Click here to find out more about the Global Security Forum.