KEIR RADNEDGE at DEAD SEA: Qatar’s World Cup organisers welcome the focus of international attention – positive and negative – which the award of the 2022 finals has brought.

That clarification of the inner tensions in the Gulf state between the progressive and more conservative elements emerged at the Soccerex Asian Forum at the Bin Talal Convention Centre.

Nasser Al Khater, media and marketing director of the Supreme Committee for Committee for Delivery & Legacy, was delivering an update on progress for the finals in eight years’ time.

Inevitably this included addressing the issues of workers rights following controversy over the kafala system and safety of construction workers.

Al Khater said: “Contrary to what the international media says there has not been a single injury or death on the World Cup projects. It’s not possible when you are still digging a hole in the ground so I would like to make sure this matter is put to rest.

‘Highest standards’

“However, we have taken the issue of workers welfare very seriously and made sure that the highest standards in terms of workers welfare are stated in all our contacts.

“We have always said the World Cup is a catalyst for change and we welcome the spotlight this issue has brought.

“Since 2008 Qatar has launched Vision 2030 resting on four pillars – economic, social, human and environmental pillars – and now we can see this legacy taking place as we speak.”

Al Khater indicated that “important announcements” were coming soon on the issue of workers welfare. He confirmed earlier clarifications that a decision will be made next year on a likely reduction to eight from 12 in the number of stadia.

He also explained the change of name for the Supreme Committee which had been undertaken to “clear the way” for the emergent local organisation committee which would “liaise with FIFA on tournament planning and marketing.”

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