The official from the world cup hosting body says that the preparations towards the expected “normal” games also helped expose the conditions of migrant workers.
Al-Khater said that the country is planning the “complete normal” games following the current progress being made in the production of vaccines after the rapid progress in producing vaccines for the coronavirus.
“The introduction of the vaccine and the rollout of the vaccine, it’s definitely good news for everybody,” Al-Khater told the AP.
The interview comes prior to the European qualifying draw after the pandemic, which first broke out earlier this year, forced the cancelation of the European Championship and Olympics. Qatar was also concerned about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the World Cup as the first Middle Eastern country to host the event.
“Everybody’s looking forward to going back to some sort of normalcy in life and especially in sports as well,” he said.
The comments came ahead of a European qualifying draw to secure one of the 13 spots in the tournament held at FIFA HQ in Zurich on Monday.
Meanwhile, Al- Khater also shed light on violations against migrant workers, mostly in the construction field, saying the World Cup helped the country pay closer attention to such cases.
“The World Cup has definitely been a catalyst to looking out into workers rights and standards,” Al-Khater said.
Throughout the year, Qatar made significant reforms in labour’s rights and was widely praised for dismantling its Kafala System, allowing workers to freely change their workplaces without a “no objection” form.
Qatar also became the first in the region to set a “non-discriminatory” minimum wage at QR 1,000 as a basic salary, in addition to a housing allowance of QR 500 and food allowance of QR 300 for those that are not already provided these from their employer.
Qatar is now counting down the days to host the long-anticipated World Cup with less than two years remaining on the clock.
The country will not only be the first to host the event in the Middle East, but will also be the first ever to host it during November and December – instead of June and July – due to the hot climate.
“When the announcement was made for the World Cup to be played in November and December, obviously at that time there was a lot of feedback about the disruption to the different calendars of the leagues,” said Al-Khater.
“There was always that advantage that the World Cup is taking place midseason, so players are going to be fresh and it would translate into much better football on the field of play,” Al-Khater said. “We hope that remains the same that they will have a break in the summer [of 2022].”
Last week also marked 10 years since Qatar won the bid to host the World Cup in a FIFA vote in a moment that also marked the beginning of the rise of infrastructural developments in the country.
Billions of dollars were spent to build hotels, a new and developed transport system, as well as the construction of eight state-of-the-art stadiums.
Three of the stadiums have been completed, with Al Rayyan stadium, the fourth, scheduled to be inaugurated with an Amir Cup final match on Qatar’s National Day.
Doha anticipates some 1.5 million football fans to visit Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.