UK will help Qatar overcome 2022 challenges: ambassador

British diplomat said staging of the World Cup will only be successful with international support

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will only be successful with the help of international partners, the UK ambassador to Qatar, Nicholas Hopton, said during a speech in Doha on Tuesday.

Hopton said the UK was willing to support Qatar, suggesting that together issues including the timing of the tournament and searing heat could be overcome.

“Let me make my bold statement on these points: given all the controversies about timing, money involved and other elements around holding the World Cup, essentially in one city rather than two in this part of the world, and in heat which will range between 40-50 degrees - we can overcome all these challenges,” Hopton said, according to reports in local newspapers.

“I am confident that the amount of experience, expertise and international intelligence being put towards making this a success will overcome those challenges.”

The Qatar World Cup has been plagued by persistent controversy over the timing of the event and labour rights of workers helping to build the required infrastructure.

The tournament is likely to be moved to winter for the first time amid concerns about the health of players and spectators if it was held in summer, when temperatures typically soar past 40 degrees Celsius.

But some have called for it to be moved to a cooler climate.

Hopton, who was delivering the welcome speech at a construction and engineering conference, said the UK supported keeping the World Cup 2022 in the Gulf state.

“We are supporting the Qatari friends in delivering not just the World Cup, but also the wider development agenda set out in the previous Emir’s 2030 vision for his country,” he said.

“Qatar National Vision 2030 is one of the extraordinary ambitious documents published by any other country.

“Like the World Cup, it is also possible to realise only with the support and engagement of international partners.”

He said the UK, which hosted the 2012 Olympics, had offered its expertise to Qatar’s World Cup organisers.

“With our experience of hosting the 2012 Olympics, which is acknowledged by many as one of the most successful, if not the most successful Olympics of modern history, the UK is very well placed to support Qatar to realise its vision,” he said.

“Qatar likes working with the UK and the UK is very comfortable working with Qatar. So the British embassy in Qatar is ready to extend support, work and advice to companies in the best possible ways.”

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