‘FIFA WC 2022 to change the perceptions’

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Qatar 2022 will be held in eight state-of-the-art stadiums from 20 November to 18 December. The tournament will get underway when hosts Qatar face Ecuador at the majestic Al Bayt Stadium…reports Asian Lite News

World and Olympic high jump champion Mutaz Barshim said the FIFA World Cup will help change the ‘negative perceptions about the region and believes Qatar’s staging of the football showpiece event presents a unique opportunity to unite people through their shared love of football.

“The World Cup will positively impact our society by showcasing our culture worldwide and helping people to create friendships and build networks. It is a golden opportunity to change negative perceptions about the region and create new and meaningful connections,” said Barshim, who is also a FIFA World Cup Ambassador.

Qatar Football World Cup will change negative perceptions about the region, says High Jump world champion Barshim

Growing up, Barshim was inspired by his father, who was also a track and field athlete. Barshim would follow his father to the local training club before later joining the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence – where he soon became one of the country’s most promising track and field athletes.

Barshim’s breakthrough year came in 2010 when he won the World Junior Championships. He has won a slew of medals since, including three World Athletics Championships titles, in 2017, 2019 and 2022. He claimed Olympic silver in 2012 and 2016 before bagging gold at Tokyo 2020 after sharing the high jump title with Italian Gianmarco Tamberi. Barshim is the first Qatari to win Olympic gold in a track and field event.

“I have lived the dream of being at a global event and it having a major impact on me. The things I have learned, the experiences I went through, the relationships I built, the friendships I formed and the milestones I have been able to achieve – they all made a really positive change in my life and I can’t wait to see that happen here in Qatar during the World Cup,” the champion high jumper said, whose younger brother Meshaal is part of the Qatar national team taking part in the World Cup and guards the goal for the host nation at the 29-day tournament.

Qatar 2022 will be held in eight state-of-the-art stadiums from 20 November to 18 December. The tournament will get underway when hosts Qatar face Ecuador at the majestic Al Bayt Stadium.

Barshim said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that won’t be repeated. We’re hosting the World Cup in an Arab country and a Muslim country for the first time. I hope everyone comes and makes the most of this experience to learn more about Arab hospitality and all different cultures.”

‘FIFA TO UNITE WORLD’

Football is much more than a sport, and has a “unique magic” power to bring people together, said FIFA President Gianni Infantino ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

While attending the ongoing G20 Summit held in Bali, Indonesia, Infantino called on world leaders to set aside tensions and conflicts, and enjoy the quadrennial football event which is scheduled to take place from November 20 to December 18 in Qatar.

“The World Cup should be an occasion for joy and unity. It should send a message of hope,” Infantino told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Infantino said football is also an important economic activity with a global GDP of hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars, creating millions of jobs and bolstering economic growth. “This is about growth, economic growth,” said the FIFA head.

Infantino expected the FIFA World Cup in Qatar to be viewed by five billion people, more than half of the world’s population.

Noting China’s plan to bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2031, Infantino said that the move, together with China’s involvement in football clubs and youth football, helps address regional imbalances in football development, and is crucial for the overall development of the sport.

“China has to be a key part of growth of football. Bidding for important events has to be an element that makes football grow even more in China, women’s or men’s football,” he said.

He said that FIFA has been discussing how to implement a footballing culture in China, with the hope of making young boys and girls dream of becoming football players, and teaching them team spirit and respect for each other.

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