The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be a major vehicle for correcting misperceptions among Muslims, the Arab world and the Middle East, panelists stressed during the joint session of Hamad Bin Khalifa University and the University of Qatar to promote the World Association for Sports Management (WASM). ) Conference 2023 in Doha.
The panel discussion held at the Olympic Museum 3-2-1 was themed “Looking Back, Moving Forward – The New Era for the Sports Industry in Qatar and Beyond”. The event discussed the impact of Qatar hosting the World Cup on the region while utilizing previous editions in Germany (2006), South Africa (2010) and Russia (2018). The panel also noted the tournament’s impact on legacy, sustainability, Qatar’s status as a global sports hub from the 2006 Asian Games to the present day, and the 2030 Asian Games, which the country will host, as well as a potential bid for the 2036 Olympics.
Panel participants included Dr. Ahmed Al-Emadi, Professor of Sports Management at QU and Co-Chair of WASM 2023, Dr. Kamilla Swart-Arries, Associate Professor and Program Director of Sports and Entertainment Management at CSE, HBKU and WASM co-chair 2023; Dr. Holger Preuss, Professor of Sports Economics and Sports Sociology at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz; Eng. Fahad Ebrahim Juma Muhana, Director, Strategy and Projects Department (SPD), Qatar Olympic Committee. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Othman Althawadi, College of Business and Economics, Qatar University.
Qatar will host the World Cup from November 20 to December 18 later this year. With 65 days to go until the world tournament, authorities have consistently emphasized the regional importance of the tournament, breaking down barriers and merging cultures.
“Although we are a small country, we have proven that we have great potential to host world events. I remember when Qatar got the hosting rights for the World Cup in 2010, our leaders said that this event would be for all Arab nations and Muslim countries,” said Dr Al-Emadi .
“With almost two million viewers coming to Qatar, they are going to experience our culture and our history, which I think is one of the main things for me as a citizen. It will bring a big change to Western media in near future. I encourage every citizen, resident, to really represent our culture and our religion as well, and to be a good ambassador.
Dr Al Emadi added that the tournament will change the mindset of people especially in the media and prove that geographical size does not matter and a state like Qatar can host an event of this size.
Highlighting the impact of hosting the World Cup on a country’s image, Dr Preuss said the 2006 World Cup in Germany also changed the stereotype associated with Germans.
“Before 2006, everyone thought Germans were too strict and didn’t party. They are always busy and working and so on. Then the World Cup came, and it was a big party. I saw many studies after the tournament that people’s perception had changed, and they saw that Germans could be funny and exciting.
“These big events give so much visibility that they bring change.”
The panel also noted that harnessing the momentum of the World Cup to build local capacity and develop the skills of small and medium enterprises is essential as a legacy of the tournament.