Xavi, Stuart Pearce and Hassan Al Thawadi headlined on Day One of Forum held in partnership with Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
5 December 2016 – Doha, Qatar: Over 750 delegates from around 48 countries are in Doha for the Soccerex Asian Forum 2016, to share opinions and provide an in-depth review of football in Asia and around the world. Key industry decision makers from global football have come together to gain a unique insight and access to key development projects as Asia prepares to host an unprecedented number of major international tournaments culminating in the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Day One of the Forum on Monday featured expert insights from Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General and Nasser Al Khater, Assistant Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, as well as Xavi, Stuart Pearce and footballing leaders from across the region. Discussions focussed on the progress of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, which has just passed the half way stage of its preparations, the importance of hosting major footballing events for the first time in the region and how football has the power to change and enhance lives across the Middle East.
An emotional opening ceremony saw Tony Martin and Hassan Al Thawdi pay tribute to Soccerex Founder and CEO, Duncan Revie, who sadly passed away in September. Revie’s contribution to the football industry was commemorated with the inauguration of the Duncan Revie Award, which was presented by Hassan Al Thawadi to Richard Tims, Chairman of Sheffield FC, the world’s first football club.
The Forum then continued with the first panel session, which saw Nasser Al Khater address critics of the Qatar 2022 World Cup by saying:
“We have been responding to our critics for a very long time and they are starting to come around to a Qatar World Cup. We are open and will continue to be open to constructive criticism. This is the first time it will be hosted in the region and in the Arab world and this region definitely deserves it. It is a responsibility we take very seriously. We have really begun extending to the local community and understanding what their concerns are. We want to show the world that anyone can host big sporting events.”
The topic of hosting major football events in the region for the first time was explored further later in the morning in a panel session titled, ‘Breaking New Ground’, moderated by Bashar Al Kadhi, H+K Strategies’ CEO of the MENA region. Kushal Das, General Secretary of the All India Football Federation, Mohammed Hazzam Al Dhaheri, General Secretary of the UAE Football Association and AFC Asian Cup Organising Committee, and Samar Nasser, CEO of the U17 FIFA Women’s World Cup 2016, discussed recent and upcoming football events held in their respective countries. Discussions addressed how transfer of knowledge and exchanging expertise are key to supporting new countries in their hosting of events, the challenges of filling large stadiums in major football tournaments and how FIFA are revising their specifications and requirements for hosting events to enable more developing countries to bid and host events. Samar Nasser said: