Qatar is “on track” for its preparations to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) chairman Franco Frattini.
“I am sure Qatar will witness a very successful World Cup,” said the former Italian Foreign Minister, who was in Doha recently for the ‘Doha 2019 Inter-regional Sports Integrity Summit’.
According to Frattini, Qatar takes its 2022 FIFA World Cup preparations “very seriously,” citing the massive infrastructure development projects being implemented and completed across the country.
“Over recent years, Qatar has witnessed an amazing development; and every time I come to Doha, I find something new and something better, so it is a country where all those preparations for world sports events are taken very seriously. I had the same impression when I look at all the facilities that are being prepared for other sporting events,” Frattini told Gulf Times in an interview.
He also underscored the longstanding co-operation between Qatar and Italy, especially in the fields of construction and technology. The sharing of experiences, he continued, is vital in the strengthening of ties between both countries.
Frattini also stressed that “Italians are very happy” to be part of the mega-infrastructure projects “across all platforms and sectors of the Qatari society,” including the building of stadiums for the World Cup.
“Co-operation in respect to sport organisation is the right approach, so my evaluation is very positive…take for example the construction of Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, which has a unique and complex design from the point of view of architecture,” he emphasised.
Aside from construction and industry, Frattini said Qatar and Italy share “a long lasting co-operation in many fields,” whether in geopolitics, security, high technology, and military equipment, among others.
“We have a longstanding tradition of co-operation, based on mutual trust. Many visits of the Italian members of the government took place exactly after the economic blockade, which is one of the most difficult moments of the country’s history, which, to my view, has made Qatar even stronger. Despite the situation, many of the Italian ministers of the government at the time came here to pay official visits and to see the developments,” Frattini pointed out.
He added: “After the blockade, there was a strengthening of national unity within Qatar. The families, institutions, civil society, and all others felt more united and this brought strength to the country.
“I think one can say that the country has become stronger. And I think the right approach is that as soon as possible there must be a resumption of dialogue in the region. But this country has found its way to succeed despite what had happened.”