Qatar is moving forward with determination and vehemence. Since it was awarded the venue for the 2022 World Cup, the Arab country has been mired in criticism; so the only way to respond to all the indications will be with the organization of the best World Cup in history. “After this Cup, which I believe will be the most famous, I doubt that another country can do the same that Qatar will do,” Ambassador Mohammed Al Kuwari affirms convinced, in an interview with MILLENNIUM-Hobby.
The preparations did not stop due to the covid-19 pandemic and today there is a 90 percent advance; A few weeks ago, the Qatari government approved a 25 percent increase in the minimum wage, which was the equivalent of 11,000 Mexican pesos, to put down the criticisms of working conditions.
How has the pandemic impacted the preparations for the World Cup?
All the preparation for the World Cup is more than 90 percent now, especially the stadiums. The infrastructure, tunnels, bridges and the subway also goes more than 90 percent. The pandemic not only affects Qatar, but the whole world, but we have few cases in Qatar, just over 200 people have died; Yes, infrastructure preparations have been late, but we are on time.
Do you think there is a risk, if the pandemic does not subside, that the World Cup will be postponed like the Olympics, or it will be played without full stadiums?
I don’t know if there is any plan not to hold the World Cup, but I think we will do the World Cup on time, because right now all the games are coming back, also other events. I believe that in two years things will improve and we can do it on time and in the best conditions.
Are you prepared in case there is an eventuality that forces you to change your plans?
Qatar is a very organized country in sports, we have almost every year a world and international event; almost every year we have a very big event and many international ones; So you have a lot of experience. I was in the Athletics Federation and we helped other countries to organize; I hope this year in December we can have the Club World Cup and in two years the World Cup.
There has been a lot of talk about the working conditions in the stadium works and they accuse that there is no respect for human rights, how true are these versions?
It’s not just about the workers or the World Cup. Qatar has a very strong position in our region and many countries do not like it; For example, our neighbors (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt) blocked Qatar because we have the Al Jazeera channel. There are a lot of people who don’t like what Qatar does; Right now, the country is almost the center of sport and we want to do more.
On the human rights of workers, in 2018 the organization of the World Cup invited workers. It is established how many hours they work, in the summer it is very hot and they are not allowed to work during the day, only at night; This month we had a new rule that says that you cannot pay less than 11 thousand pesos as a salary, it is the minimum. Human rights for workers in Qatar is the highest, but there are many rumors that seek to change the world’s opinion about Qatar.
How would you like this World Cup to be remembered?
There are many events in the past where Qatar always had the best organization; after the World Cup for other countries it will be difficult to do what Qatar will do, because we have the highest green technology, all stadiums have that technology. After this World Cup, I think it will be the most famous and I don’t think another country can do what Qatar will do.
Despite all the criticism and this pandemic, will it be an achievement that the World Cup is played on the established date?
Our Emir (Tamim bin Hamad Al Zani) has always said that this Cup is not only for the Qataris, it is like a gift from Qatar to the Middle East and the Arab world; Right now many countries do not know where Qatar is, because it is small, but after this World Cup it will be a success for the country and perhaps it can change the vision that we have.
Soccer stadiums try to respect the Arab style of the shade and the tent; three are already operating.
For the World Cup, in addition to the use of hotels, there will also be Arab cruises and tents.
The World Cup will be played from November 21 to December 18 to avoid the summer temperatures in the Middle East.
CLUB WORLD CUP
It is not yet confirmed if the Club World Cup edition, which would be in Qatar, is played or not.
Qatar has an area of 11,586 kilometers; Querétaro, in Mexico, measures 11,699.
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