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Friday, May 14, 2021

FIFA president ‘speechless’ in visit to unique Al Bayt World Cup 2022 stadium

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The Gulf country reviews cooperations with the sports official ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani received FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino in the Amiri Diwan on Wednesday, weeks after Doha announced major labour reforms.

During the meeting, the Amir and the sports official discussed joint cooperation and achievements in preparation for the first ever World Cup to be hosted in the Middle East.

Read more: McMajlis?: US fast food giant McDonald’s opens iconic 50th branch at Qatar World Cup venue

Shortly after his meeting, Infantino visited the new Al Bayt Stadium and took part in a seven-a-side match with local players.

“It is an absolute pleasure to play football at this amazing stadium, where on 21 November 2022, we will kick off the greatest FIFA World Cup ever,” he said.

“Al Bayt Stadium is incredible: a true football stadium. It has a real football feel and a local touch. The tented shape makes it truly unique, and the Arabic patterns in the roof are just beautiful. I am speechless.”

The meeting came just a day after the body organising the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on Tuesday received special recognition for its Workers’ Welfare programme by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment.

Source: Amiri Diwan

Since winning the bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar has come under global scrutiny due to work-related deaths at stadium construction sites.

In August, Qatar’s ministry of labour announced major new changes in the country’s labour market, allowing migrant workers to change jobs without their employer’s permission and introducing a non-discriminatory minimum wage.

The move, which is set to start a new era for the Qatari labour market, was praised by many international organisations, including the International Labour Organisation [ILO].

“By introducing these significant changes, Qatar has delivered on a commitment. One that will give workers more freedom and protection, and employers more choice,” said Guy Ryder, the ILO Director-General. “We are witnessing what can be achieved when governments, workers and employers work together with the ILO to promote decent work for all.”

The announcement is part of Qatar’s 2030 National Vision of protecting workers and ensuring their safety, a step described by Yousuf Mohamed Al Othman Fakhroo, Minister of

Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, as a major milestone for the country.

Read more: Qatar’s new labour laws: After celebration must come work

Speaking at the stadium on Wednesday, Infantino said he was very pleased with the progress ahead of the tournament.

“We have seen the plans, but when you see the reality, it is even more impressive. Qatar has been able to continue to advance during the last six months while the world stood still – from infrastructure preparations to important developments such as the recent labour reforms announced by the government. If I was confident before, now I can say I am even more,” added Infantino.


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