Qatar fuels Arab pride

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Festive spirit bubbles over despite beer ban and other controversies. The Union of Arab Chambers, which is the official representative of the Arab private sector, has affirmed that organizing the FIFA World Cup 2022 by the State of Qatar is a source of pride for all the people of the Arab region…reports Asian Lite News

Football, fans and flags. These three words embody Qatar as a large number of international fans, expatriates and Qataris soak in the festive spirit of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 just more than 24 hours ahead of the grand event that begins on Sunday.

Groups of men and women carrying flags and in colourful jerseys could be seen around fan zones and places hosting festivities on Friday, the last weekend ahead of the tournament. The cyan and white jerseys of Argentina and the yellow and green of the Brazil squad have been the dominating colours as football revellers celebrate on Doha streets.

“We are lucky to be living in Qatar during the FIFA World Cup as so many fans from all over the world have converged here for the tournament,” said Mohammed Shahid, an Indian from Kerala who was dressed in a Brazil national team jersey at the Lusail Boulevard, which has been done up with flags and lights for the World Cup.

Enquiries at supermarkets and other stores selling flags and jerseys revealed that the offtake for Brazil jerseys and flags has been the highest. Amna Siddiqui, a girl from the Indian state of Karnataka, was found pleading with her father at a supermarket in Al Wakra to buy her the Brazilian standard.

“I have finally decided to yield to her badgering,” said her amused father as the 10-year-old Brazil fan emerged victorious from the shop located some 15 km from Doha.

The convivial spirit of the World Cup seems to have outshone a slew of allegations by international news outlets, especially those belonging to Western nations. A number of articles in international media have pointed the finger at Qatar, alleging human rights violations and abuse of workers’ rights as the country built eight advanced stadiums for the World Cup. Qatar denies the allegations and has pushed back against criticism.

The sale of alcoholic drinks at the World Cup has been hotly discussed in Western newspapers, with some criticising the price of beer to be sold as exorbitant. Until a few weeks before the tournament, it was still seemingly unclear if alcohol will be sold at match venues and fan zones in the conservative Muslim country where the sale of liquor is strictly regulated.

FIFA ended the speculation on Friday when it announced a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages near the eight stadiums where World Cup matches will be played in Qatar.

In a statement on its website, the world football body said: “Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters.”

The announcement implies that alcohol will be sold at FIFA Fan Festivals, which will be held in designated places in the country where thousands of fans will congregate to watch matches on giant screens.

“…FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and pleasant experience for all fans,” the world football body’s statement added.

 ARAB PRIDE

The Union of Arab Chambers, which is the official representative of the Arab private sector, has affirmed that organizing the FIFA World Cup 2022 by the State of Qatar is a source of pride for all the people of the Arab region.

This was revealed at the closing statement of the 133rd board of directors meeting of the Union of Arab Chambers (UAC) held recently in the State of Kuwait.
The “Kuwait Summit for the Private Sector” statement also stressed that the World Cup opened broad horizons for Arab companies to implement more projects and gain more expertise.

HE Chairman of Qatar Chamber Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani led the Chambers delegation participating in the meeting which touched on many topics, including enhancing mutual investments between Arab countries and the most prominent obstacles facing the intra-Arab trade, in addition to upgrades in the global trade and opportunities available for Arab economies.

During the meeting, Their Excellencies the heads of unions and Arab chambers and members of the delegations praised Qatar’s organization of this tournament, assuring that it is a championship for all Arabs and that its economic gains would exceed all expectations.

The statement also called on Arab governments to achieve the four freedoms that enhance Arab economic integration, which are the freedom of movement of individuals, freedom of movement of capital, freedom of movement of goods, as well as the freedom of transfer of services by accelerating the adoption of the Agreement on Liberalization of Trade in Services among the Arab Countries.

The establishment of Arab value and supply chains through Arab ports and sea lines and logistics centers, and providing support for the multimodal transport, as well as the establishment of an Arab commodity exchange were among recommendations.

The meeting also stressed on encouraging the private sector to play its societal role in developing and supporting education, training, and entrepreneurship to create productive generations that keep pace with developments, with a focus on youth entrepreneurs.

It further called for empowering womens participation in economic activity, activating the PPP in all economic sectors, and activating the role of banks and funds Arab development in support of investments.

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