The past year was an extremely successful one for German football fans, as their team completed a fairytale run in South America to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Six months later, German fans once again visited the host nation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ and gave positive feedback on their experiences in Qatar, saying that a tournament in the Middle East was an ideal opportunity to witness different cultures and stating their intention of returning in seven years’ time.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) held the Second Annual Fan Forum with German supporters from FC Schalke 04 and Bayern Munich as the teams returned once again to their winter training camps at the Doha-based Aspire Academy.
Around 35 travelling German fans joined Her Excellency the German Ambassador to the State of Qatar, Angelika Renate Storz-Chakarji and Nasser Al Khater, SC Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, on a traditional Qatari Dhow boat trip where they had the chance to ask questions, give their input and learn more about the SC’s plans and progress for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.
Her Excellency the Ambassador said: "I truly enjoyed the Dhow trip together with the fans of Schalke 04 and FC Bayern Munich. The event was perfectly organised by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and I would like to thank them and everyone involved for the invitation and the warm welcome. It was a great initiative to show to the Schalke 04 and FC Bayern Munich fans some of the special highlights Qatar has to offer - besides the football venues. They all were enthusiastic about this opportunity and told me that they will keep very fond memories of this very unique event."
The amount of positive feedback we received here today confirms our belief that this tournament will build bridges between cultures.
Meanwhile, Nasser Al Khater expressed his satisfaction at the positive feedback gained during the discussions and interaction with fans: “It was a pleasure to have Her Excellency the Ambassador, German football fans and German media on board and to hear their thoughts on the World Cup in Qatar. The amount of positive feedback we received here today confirms our belief that this tournament will build bridges between cultures. It will be an outstanding event for spectators, who will travel less and have more time for leisure activities and be able to see up to three matches a day. We will continue to incorporate the input of the fans from the current World Cup champions to make the tournament in Qatar a truly memorable experience.”
One particular fan from Cologne, Germany, was especially delighted after his participation. For over 40 years, Bayern Munich’s legendary fan Michael Zeman has followed the club. It is a journey which has taken him across Germany and Europe, draped in over 180 stickers, 40 scarves and wearing Bayern Munich socks, shoes and his trademark hat. He uses his season ticket to attend games in the Bundesliga and has travelled by bus for over 20 hours to places including Madrid, Naples, Villarreal, Manchester, Moscow, Morocco and Milan. He has seen Bayern win a UEFA Champions League trophy in Milan and one in London, and many other titles along the way, but on a warm and sunny day in January, he was very moved by his experience on the picturesque waters off Doha’s Corniche.
“It was sensational, we really enjoyed it,” said Zeman after receiving an award of recognition for taking part in the in the fan forum. “I am still completely overwhelmed. The fact that we football fans were given the chance to share our experiences and talk to such personalities of public life was simply amazing. It was a great conclusion to our time in Qatar.”
Fans and German media had the opportunity to give their feedback on their experience in Qatar and what they would like to see in 2022, as well as having their names written in Arabic by a calligraphy expert on board the boat.
Long-time Schalke 04 fan and fan delegation leader Thomas Kirschner added: “This is the fourth time that Schalke 04 is in Qatar for our winter training camps, alongside our fans once more. Together with representatives of the German embassy and officials from Qatar 2022, our fans were able to exchange thoughts on fan culture in our two countries, our experiences in Doha, as well as the progress with regards to Qatar’s plans for the FIFA World Cup. With perfect weather conditions the time passed much too quickly, but we hope we will come back in 2016 if Schalke once again comes back to Aspire Academy. Our travelling fans would certainly welcome that.”
Fans also got a glimpse of leisure activities available in Qatar, like dune bashing and other cultural offerings. During the winter training camps in Qatar, the SC also invited children from two local schools to FC Bayern Munich training sessions and organised special autograph signing sessions with the entire team.