FIFA President praises Arab Cup as example of competition to help develop global football

• Gianni Infantino and Fatma Samoura addressed delegates from 86 Embassies in Qatar ahead of semi-final between host nation and Algeria • Exchange on preparedness for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and its social impact • Tournament organisers respond to questions ahead of next year global event

President Gianni Infantino has acclaimed the global reach of the FIFA World Cup™ in a meeting with Ambassadors to Qatar, advocating collaboration between a wide range of stakeholders to maximise the impact of the tournament and optimise its social impact as the world comes together in Doha in 2022. The success of the ongoing FIFA Arab Cup was also highlighted as FIFA look for new models to make football truly global.

Mr Infantino was joined by FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC (Q22) Chief Executive Officer Nasser Al-Khater and FIFA Chief Tournaments & Events Officer Colin Smith in delivering updates to Embassy representatives on several matters related to the organisation of next year’s competition, pausing also to reflect on the unifying impact of football, illustrated during the ongoing FIFA Arab Cup.

Key topics on the agenda ahead of the semi-final between Qatar and Algeria were the sustainability strategy for the tournament, workers’ welfare, legacy programmes and mutual engagements with Doha-based Embassies that can be previewed on the road to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. In total, a network of 93 Embassies now liaise with Qatari authorities with a view to the FIFA World Cup since launching their interaction in 2014.

“It is a pleasure to be together with the Embassies ahead of this unique FIFA World Cup which will bring the global community together in the Middle East next year”, enthused Mr Infantino. “At this FIFA Arab Cup, we have seen how this international competition has captivated people in the participating countries and across the world and viewing figures for this tournament have been higher in those countries than for major club competitions.

“We are working to make football truly global,” added the President. “Football is the number one sport, but when we scratch beneath the surface, we see that top football is very much confined to a small group of countries. It is our job – and that of all your countries to help us – to narrow this gap. For that reason, we organise competitions such as this FIFA Arab Cup. And we are thinking about other competitions as well, we are thinking about increasing the world cups and make it every two years instead of four, and maybe something else, we will see what comes out of the consultation process we are currently in”.

“We also look ahead to a unique and special FIFA World Cup here next year, where people will get the chance to learn about the Middle East and its culture. Here, we will welcome the world and your citizens to this country and to this region, in a tournament where teams will not have to travel and where players will be at peak performance.”

The exchange with diplomatic representatives also gave the opportunity to respond to some of the questions that fans planning to come to the FIFA World Cup in 2022 are raising, such as the different types of accommodation that will be available and the question of LGBTQI+ supporters and the display of rainbow flags. On this point, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura sent a very clear message: “It’s our responsibility that every one of our tournaments is inclusive. The President has been very clear, people are free to display any kind of flag they want, including the rainbow flag, without them being targeted or singled out. Every single day, we would like the world to see that FIFA has clear values. We promote and protect all human rights, anywhere and anytime."