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‘Impossible is nothing’: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Published : Friday, 2 December, 2022 at 12:00 AM  Count : 390
Syed Badiuzzaman

‘Impossible is nothing’: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

‘Impossible is nothing’: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Destination: Qatar. That's right! The small state on the northern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East is now the destination of the whole world. People from everywhere are currently converging there to celebrate the world's biggest sporting extravaganza -- FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022.

History is unfolding in real time in the fourth smallest Arab state of roughly three million people with a festive fever, beating of drums, singing and dancing and occasional whistling by cheering soccer fans wearing jersey of their favorite team as the greatest sporting event on our planet takes place in style in stadium after stadium through Doha, a city of spectacular skyline.  

Just a few years ago, many around the world and even in the Arab and Muslim countries thought that the idea of hosting the FIFA World Cup in Qatar was a fantasy. But what was then just imaginary to those people has now turned out to be a reality in Qatar's newly built state-of-the-art stadiums packed with soccer fans from across the world during the daytime as well as in the evening hours.

Those who opposed Qatar's bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 grumbled about the extreme temperature in the desert country when the extravaganza usually takes place. But Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the 2022 Qatar bid chairman was upbeat. "We will have to take the help of technology to counter the harsh weather. We have already set in motion the process. A stadium with controlled temperature is the answer to the problem. We have other plans up our sleeves as well."
FIFA'S former boss Sepp Blatter endorsed the idea of hosting a World Cup in the Arab world. "The Arab world deserves a World Cup. They have 22 countries and have not had any opportunity to organize the tournament." Praising Qatar's steady progress, Blatter said: "When I was first in Qatar there were 400,000 people here and now there are 1.6 million. In terms of infrastructure, when you are able to organize the Asian Games with more than 30 events for men and women, then that is not in question."

Despite considerable opposition, Qatar earned the honor of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup about 12 years ago. As Sepp Blatter announced in December 2010 that Qatar would host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, a spectacular celebration began on the streets of Doha welcoming the biggest sporting event of the globe to the tiny but fabulously rich Arab Gulf state. Immediately after the historic announcement from the FIFA, Qatar embarked on a massive infrastructure project spending an estimated $220 billion to host the most expensive World Cup in its history.

Construction of seven new stadiums and redevelopment of already existing one have reportedly cost the Persian Gulf country an amount between $8 billion and $10 billion. In addition to building the air-conditioned stadiums, Qatar built a rapid transit system in the capital city called the Doha Metro at a cost of $36 billion. It also spent billions more on accommodation including hotels, apartments and even private islands. The costs for hosting the last two World Cups in Brazil and Russia were much lower. Brazil spent $15 billion on stadiums and other infrastructure projects for hosting the 2014 World Cup while Russia spent $11.7 billion for organizing the tournament in 2018.   

Overall, Qatar has spent a whopping $220 billion, more than its total expected GDP of $195 billion by the end of 2022, to host the extravaganza. Was it worth it? The short answer is yes -- every penny of it. First of all, Qatar has secured its place permanently in the history of FIFA World Cup of being the smallest country on our planet to host the biggest sporting event of the world. An estimated two million people from across the world, two-thirds of Qatar's entire population, are expected to visit the tiny Persian Gulf state during the tournament. According to media reports, more than one million people from various countries have already arrived in Qatar.

Secondly, the 2022 FIFA World Cup created an opportunity for Qatar to go for sustainable development of some spectacular infrastructures namely the state-of-the-art stadiums, the roads, the hotels, the metro system, the amusement parks, the luxury villas and the islands. These are all going to stay in Qatar permanently for decade after decade. With all these brand new infrastructures, Qatar is now the most spectacular-looking modern state in the Arab world. And all these new constructions -- the Doha Metro, the hotels, the amusement parks, etc. -- will significantly contribute to the national economy of Qatar. The recent stunning  development in Qatar will also turn this country into a tourist hub in the Middle East.  

Most importantly by hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022, the small state of Qatar now serves as a symbol of great pride of the whole Arab and Muslim World. The World Cup has given Qatar a new identity. This tiny Persian Gulf nation has  established itself as a big economic power not just within the Middle East but across the globe. The tournament will create a legacy for Qatar that will last for ages inspiring generation after generation of young Arabs and Muslims around the world. This World Cup will bring football closer to their hearts making this sport more popular across the Middle East. Popularizing soccer throughout the world is also an important goal of FIFA.

So, despite mounting opposition from powerful adversaries right from the beginning, Qatar went ahead with full spirit to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 taking it up as one of the greatest challenges since its birth in 1971. And those who expressed their doubt in the ability of the tiny Persian Gulf state to host the world's biggest sporting extravaganza were proved wrong by Qatar when it ultimately began with a splendid display of pomp and grandeur before the entire world perfectly resonating with the iconic slogan of Adidas -- "impossible is nothing" -- which is flashing on the digital screens at various stadiums in Doha where the World Cup matches are currently underway.  

However, Qatar had friends too. And they far exceeded the number of Qatar's adversaries. As a matter of fact, over a billion people from the Muslim world alone supported Qatar's bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. And no friend was more important to Qatar than the former and the current bosses of FIFA. They both stood by Qatar and wanted to see the small Arab nation succeed in hosting the biggest sporting event of the world. Addressing a press conference on the eve of the opening ceremony, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: "The world is excited. Qatar is ready. The stage is set. Together, we will deliver the best World Cup ever on and off the field."

The opening ceremony of FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022 was magnificent. It was well-planned, sophisticated and creative. It reflected Arab history, culture and hospitality. As Hollywood's mega star Morgan Freeman kicked off the ceremony with a powerful message for inclusion in the world, the world listened. Through Freeman, it was actually Qatar talking to the globe for a global unity, fraternity and friendship. And as Freeman tried to reach a handicapped person by extending his hand toward him in a heartwarming gesture, he highlighted the theme of the extravaganza of establishing bonding among all people in the world and removing discriminations from this planet.

By hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar has already built a lasting legacy which  no other Arab or Muslim country in the world will ever be able to build. It has established itself as the first Arab nation that has organized a FIFA World Cup. This small state will forever remain a big inspiration for young Arab and Muslim men and women having interest in games and sports.   
The writer is a Toronto-based journalist who also writes for the Toronto Sun as a guest columnist








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