ATHENS – Qatar lives and breathes for 2022, when it will host the FIFA World Cup, Qatar’s ambassador to Greece, Abdulaziz Ali al-Naam, said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).
Cooperation between the two countries, which began with the visit of Deputy Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis to Qatar, is particularly significant, the ambassador said.
The full interview follows:
– The Embassy observed the annual celebration for Qatar National Sports Day. What does this day mean to you?
– It ιs an official national day for the country. Everyone living in Qatar has to do sports. From the Emir to the last citizen. Qatar has decided to dedicate the second Tuesday of February to sports since the country undertook to host the World Cup.
– What does sports mean to you and how can it help the world forget its problems?
– Sports are very important in people’s daily lives because [doing sports] keeps them healthy. It also gets them out of their routine. Sports help people escape from stress. Sports give people joy.
– Qatar is a superpower that invests signficantly in sports, taking on many big events …
– Studies say Qatar is one of the most developed countries in sports. Qatar has become a centre of attraction for many sports, such as athletics, swimming, and many sporting events. Qatar has also invested heavily in facilities, not just sports events.
– The World Cup is the biggest event that Qatar has undertaken to host. What do people expect from the World Cup?
– Everyone in Qatar is waiting for the start of the World Cup. And that is because Qatar has broken every record. Even the grass in the stadiums exceeds the specifications. All the ministries are enthusiastically trying to outdo themselves and create an outstanding event.
– FIFA and the Qatari government are waging a ‘fight’ for human and labour rights. Is the World Cup a chance for change?
– Qatar has opened its doors to all human rights organisations so they can check what the situation is. Contrary to what has been written, Qatar, according to official reports from international organisations, respects labour rights. Qatar has adopted new labour laws that are a model for other countries. Reports that have come out about Qatar unfortunately originate from the embargo countries. It is because they wanted Qatar to fail in the World Cup. There are also more than 2,500 Greeks working in Qatar and no complaints about their labour rights have been made.
– Qatar is an economic superpower, Greece on the other hand is the birthplace of sport. Can these two things be “married” and is there cooperation between the two countries?
– During [Deputy Sports Minister Lefteris] Avgenakis’ visit to Qatar, we launched cooperation between the two countries. We are now at the start of a partnership based on various sports and cultural issues. Greece is the birthplace of sport and with its experience, especially since the 2004 Olympics, can help Qatar a great deal.
– Qatar has hosted all the major competitions and the only thing left is the Olympics …
– Qatar will not stop in 2022, we will look for something more.