'Russia 2018 secondment an invaluable knowledge-sharing experience'
What did your 2018 FIFA World Cup™ experience involve?
I was based in Moscow, specifically at Luzhniki Stadium. I was assigned to the role of Assistant FIFA Competitions Coordinator. In total I spent 45 days in the city, from before the first game until after the final – both of which took place in my assigned venue. It proved to be an invaluable experience. Although I already had a lot of experience before I travelled to Russia, this opportunity allowed me to build on it and witness first-hand the scale upon which FIFA operates, and the organisation that goes into a World Cup match day.
Ahmed Al Adsani (second from left) worked as an Assistant FIFA Competitions Coordinator at Luzhniki Stadium during Russia 2018.
How would you describe the overall operation in Moscow?
It was my first experience of working at a World Cup, so of course the scale and professionalism of the entire event was very impressive. From minor details, such as signs across the host city, to the volunteers, the venue staff, and the logistics involved with ensuring every second of every match day runs perfectly and to schedule, it is a unique operation, with many thousands of elements working seamlessly together. For me, this seamless collaboration was the most impressive part of it.
What did you take from your interactions with the Local Organising Committee (LOC)?
It is simple, without the LOC working harmoniously with FIFA and the host city authorities, the event could not happen. It is important to remember that a World Cup is not only what we see inside the stadiums for 90 minutes, but the entire experience. Travel, safety, fan zones, fan fests – there is so much that goes into making a World Cup a success, and the Russian LOC was a perfect example of this. That said, they have now given us a challenge in Qatar to deliver an even better World Cup – because theirs was so good. But having a challenge is a positive thing!
Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium during the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.
What knowledge and experiences will you bring back to share with your colleagues?
There are many important learnings to take away from Russia. We all return with so many plans and ideas, based on what we have witnessed in Moscow, and across Russia. From my perspective, I have seen how much of a spotlight such a tournament can shine on not only a country's stadiums, but also its football infrastructure. For us at the QSL, this presents a very exciting opportunity.
In the years between now and 2022 we must capitalise on the increased attention the world will undoubtedly be placing on Qatar – and that means further development of our league. We have already attracted world stars such as Xavi and Wesley Sneijder in recent years, but now – as the next World Cup hosts – we are at the top table of world football and we want our league to grow – eventually to a point where every QSL team can attract star players as a matter of course. I'm confident we will.