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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

FIFA praise "commitment and excitement" of Qatar 2022 after first official visit

By Andrew Warshaw

Qatar 2022_Supreme_Committee_Secretary_General_Hassan_Al_Thawadi_speaking_with_FIFA_delegates_02-03-12March 2 - A FIFA delegation has concluded its first official working visit to Qatar since the tiny Gulf state was controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup.

The delegation was headed by FIFA's competitions director Mustapha Fahmy, along with marketing director Thierry Weil, television director Niclas Ericson and communications and public affairs director Walter De Gregorio, all of whom met with Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee secretary general Hassan Al Thawadi (pictured left), the public face of the Qatar bid team prior to the landmark ballot just over a year ago.

It was not known whether the two parties discussed the possibility of switching the World Cup to winter, as favoured by UEFA President Michel Platini.

Not surprisingly, both issued mutually complimentary statements with Fahmy praising "the commitment and excitement" of the 2022 organisers.

Al Thawadi, who is now concentrating on the business of actual organisation after months fighting against a relentlessly sceptical western press, added: "There is no doubt in my mind that the discussions and presentations held this week were of mutual benefit in terms of aligning our visions for the journey toward 2022.

"We have always insisted upon the importance of taking the time to ensure the proper foundations are in place for the next ten years.

"After our meetings this week with FIFA and our appointment of our delivery partner early last month, we believe we are on the right track."

Qatar 2022_Supreme_Committee_and_FIFA_visit_Aspire_02-03-12
Stakeholders involved in the presentations included representatives from the New Doha International Airport project, Qatar Rail, the Gulf Organisation for Research and Development, Qatar Foundation and Qatar's Central Planning Office.

FIFA's team also toured various facilities and sites in Qatar, including the much-lauded Aspire Academy For Sports Excellence and the newly established Qatar National Convention Centre, which will serve as a key non-competition venue during the tournament.

Contact the writer of this story at andrew.warshaw@insideworldfootball.biz