FIFA President highlights ‘joyful’ atmosphere seen throughout Qatar during FIFA World Cup™️
For the first time in tournament history, fans of all 32 nations have been based in the same city
President Infantino praised host nation Qatar for its hospitality and organisation
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has stated that the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup™️ has been proving beyond any doubt that football can, and does, unite the world. Speaking as the tournament enters its second rest day before the quarter-finals get under way on 9 December, Mr Infantino highlighted how the unique nature of Qatar’s compact FIFA World Cup™️ has been critical in bringing people together – pointing out how it has given people from all walks of life the opportunity to join as one and celebrate the global game in a single space. “Football really unites the world. Football has this magic, this special feature that when the ball rolls, people come together. They come in a joyful atmosphere,” the FIFA President said. “I have to admit that before the [FIFA] World Cup, we were worried about having so many fans from so many countries, at the same time, in the same place. This does not happen in a normal [FIFA] World Cup. In a normal [FIFA] World Cup, you have in one city, fans of two countries, not more. Here, you have 32 countries plus all [the] other fans from the world who come to enjoy the [FIFA] World Cup together in the same place.”
The tournament is taking place across eight stadiums – each within no more than an hour’s travel time of one another – and offers supporters not at games an official FIFA Fan Festival™️ in the heart of the capital city to enjoy the FIFA World Cup™️ experience. It is also the first edition of the FIFA World Cup™️ to be staged in the Middle East, with the visiting fans reporting positive, and new, cultural experiences. Something, the FIFA President says, that is forming another key factor in its eventual legacy impact. “I was saying this some years ago already,” Mr Infantino continued, “I really believe that this [FIFA] World Cup can contribute, on one side for this part of the world, for the Gulf, for Qatar, for the Middle East, to showcase itself, to show to the world how hospitable [it is] and what a rich culture they have. But also for the rest of the world to come here and to witness the hospitality, to witness a new culture, to [get to] know each other better, and that’s exactly what’s happened.
“This blend of cultures which happens in a [FIFA] World Cup is something which is truly, truly unique. And everyone who is coming here, but also those who are watching from home and can feel this atmosphere, they realise that something really special is going on at this FIFA World Cup, and there is still some excitement to come until the end.” Mr Infantino’s comments follow the launch, at the start of the tournament, of the Football Unites the World campaign – a global movement to inspire, unite and develop through football. More information about the campaign and its impact during and beyond the tournament, is available to view here.