During a mega-sporting-event, such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup, people become galvanised to join in and be part of the excitement and passion surrounding the game. There is no better time to capture people’s attention and to motivate change. Through careful planning and management, and by implementing tailored initiatives, Qatar aims to stimulate the country’s sporting industry and improve access to sports for all. New sporting infrastructure, attracting and developing sports-related industries and expertise, and increased participation in sports, will leave a lasting legacy. That legacy will support a growing economy, create employment opportunities, and encourage a healthier, more active population.
At the end of the tournament, the new World Cup stadiums, venues and surrounding re-developed areas, will provide a host of sporting facilities. These will provide homes for:
- Elite and amateur sports clubs;
- Sports-related businesses and industries (offices and headquarters);
- Sports-related medical services;
- Sports-related education and training facilities;
- Community sports and leisure facilities.
The venues and facilities created will provide enhanced opportunities for access to sports. The elite sports community will have access to world-class facilities, for both domestic and international events, training, education and medical care. Access to sports real estate will attract inward investment and spur homegrown sports businesses. The new sports infrastructure will also offer access to sports at the grassroots level, to women, and children, to those with special needs, to the many expat communities residing in Qatar.
New transport links (Metro, light-rail and road system) will provide greater access to those facilities and venues from communities across the country. Links to and from the International Airport will also ensure ease of access internationally. So, logistically, local communities, visitors, organisations, sportsmen and women, businesses and investors, may all take advantage of the world-class sports and leisure facilities and services available.
Overall, the infrastructure constructed to host the World Cup will leave a legacy of access. Access plays a large part in motivating people to participate in sports. Access also plays a large role in determining the success of a sporting industry. Creating the physical structures and providing easy access to them, Qatar hopes, will encourage greater participation in sports and healthy lifestyles; encourage elite Qatari sportsmen and women to enter into sports; attract investment; and, through a growing sports industry, create a sustainable economy and an abundance of employment opportunities.
Playing sports is good for you. Physically, playing a sport helps people to keep fit, maintain a healthy weight, boost energy levels, sleep better, and combat health conditions and diseases. Mentally, sports can improve a person’s self-confidence and mood, reduce stress and the occurrence of depression, and increase their concentration levels. Socially, being involved in sports can bestow a multitude of life skills, such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, decision-making, accountability and dedication. It is these benefits that Qatar aim to utilize, through the power of football. Education and development programmes that raise awareness of the benefits of sport will help to tackle unhealthy lifestyles in the region and to create a fit, strong, more active population ready to support the growth of their nation.
To ensure an effective sports legacy, Qatar has implemented numerous initiatives that engage with local communities. Using football as the basis of their education and development programmes, the initiatives target workers, young people and other demographics, such as women, people with special needs and the underprivileged. Working with local communities, Qatar hopes to improve the nations knowledge around diet, nutrition and exercise, and to empower people to make significant lifestyle changes based on that knowledge. They also hope that people involved in the various initiatives will pass that knowledge on throughout their communities. The objective being, to spread the message that whatever age, job, social standing or ability, sport can positively impact on people’s lives and health and help to provide skills that can be used to improve their situation.
The initiatives developed to raise awareness include:
- Tamreen - an online learning platform, based around the FIFA World Cup, that provides resources for teachers, parents, clubs and other organisations to use when teaching health and fitness.
- Healthy Generation - an educational initiative rolled out in schools and other establishments to teach young people, through football-based games, the importance of exercise, a balanced diet and mental well-being.
- Generation Amazing Ambassadors - a programme designed to train youth and community ambassadors to use football to promote social changes within their communities, schools, universities and workplaces.
- Health checks and screening programmes for workers, to establish prevalent health challenges and methods to mitigate those challenges; and, healthy lifestyle training to help workers to improve their overall health and fitness.
- A host of community events and festivals aimed at encouraging all members of the community to participate in organised sports and sports-related activities. As well as increasing participation, the initiative seeks to raise awareness around issues such as health and mental well-being; and, to demonstrate that all demographics of society have a place in the sporting community.
To ensure that the 2022 World Cup leaves a positive sporting legacy, Qatar is providing communities with opportunities to participate in sports. The aim is to drive and motivate people, regardless of their gender, ability or wealth, to take up sports as a long-term lifestyle choice. To that end, Qatar has implemented a host of initiatives - from organising and sponsoring events and tournaments, to providing football infrastructure and training - that encourage participation across all demographics of society.
In the years since winning the bid to host the World Cup, Qatar has vigorously organised, promoted and supported local tournaments such as the Worker’s Football Cup, the Qatar Community Football League, the Women’s University Football Cup, the National Service Football Tournament, and numerous other sports-related events. Their endorsement of these tournaments and community sports events and festivals, not only demonstrates an acceptance of all members of society in sport but also provides people, who otherwise may not participate, with an opportunity to try and to excel in sports.
Further afield, Qatar has implemented programmes that provide less privileged communities with the opportunity to play football. Through the construction of football pitches and sports infrastructure, and the delivery of 'football for development' training, Qatar is engaging with communities to provide access to sport; to encourage participation regardless of social status; and, to teach skills to help to overcome their circumstances.
The lasting legacy of the initiatives implemented will be empowered communities of individuals, inspired to participate in sports and that benefit from healthy lifestyle and social choices.
Qatar, as part of their long-term goals, is seeking to expand its global presence in sports and the sporting industry and to attract the world to the country’s first-class sporting facilities and amenities. To support those aims, they require a skilled workforce. Qatar is using its new sports infrastructure, and an increased interest in sports surrounding the World Cup, to create opportunities to increase the number of skilled people working in sports and sports-related industries.
A variety of projects and programmes aimed at upskilling individuals have been kicked-off since 2010. These projects and programmes are providing citizens with opportunities to:
- Volunteer or join programmes to gain experience in specific roles or industry sectors;
- Undertake training, courses and workshops to broaden their skills and knowledge, and;
- Get involved in ventures, competitions and challenges to showcase and develop their existing skills within specific areas of the sporting industry.
By investing in their citizens, Qatar can continue to grow a sustainable economy and leave a legacy of talented, capable individuals, innovators and leaders who can support a growing sports industry.
Qatar’s Generation Amazing programme has positively impacted nearly a million people’s lives worldwide, showing that sport really can make a difference.
Qatar's commitment to a carbon-neutral World Cup is well supported, with a fleet of new environmentally friendly buses ready for the 2022 tournament.
On his way to the FIFA 2022 World Cup by foot, on a one-man journey to promote positive change, Santiago Sanchez Cogedor embodies the football spirit!
The Al Rayyan Stadium is the fifth World Cup stadium in Qatar to reach completion, and its inauguration couldn’t be held on a more auspicious day.