DOHA: The Local Organising Committee held its first board meeting with representatives from FIFA in Doha today, marking another major milestone in the preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™.

LOC CEO Hassan Al Thawadi, Deputy CEO Nasser Al Khater and COO Sakis Batsilas outlined Qatar’s vision for the 22nd edition of football’s flagship event, to be staged in the Middle East for the first time.  The main focus of the meeting was to present the Tournament Operation Master Plan to FIFA, which proposes Qatar’s unique hosting concept based on the compact World Cup.

The TOMP also included a presentation from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) on stadium development, while highlighting progress on extensive transportation network links which will connect stadiums and other venues across the country.

Al Thawadi said: “Today’s meeting was a significant milestone as we continue to make progress towards hosting an outstanding FIFA World Cup which will leave a lasting legacy for future generations in the Middle East. This was an opportunity to demonstrate our operational preparations and ensure we are ready to deliver the tournament as early as possible.

“The first LOC board meeting is a symbol that this World Cup is not simply a concept for a tournament that will be held in the distant future. It is evidence that we are working every single day to deliver a unique tournament that will bring people in the Middle East together and build bridges between East and West.”

Jérôme Valcke, FIFA’s secretary-general, added:  “We had a very constructive first LOC board meeting and are pleased with the work accomplished to date by the LOC especially in delivering a first customised operational plan to the specifications of the host country.

“As we have done with previous hosting partners, we will help find solutions that work best locally including considerations for beyond the event itself.

“Next important step will be for the LOC to provide FIFA with feasibility studies to identify the best number of venues to ensure perfect playing conditions for the teams. We aim to have a confirmation of dates, length of tournament and final number of stadia to be used by end of this year.

“Talking about sustainability it was very encouraging to see yesterday the Al-Wakrah stadium construction site as well as the respective workers living facilities.

“I am no expert on these issues but I can see that progress is being made particularly with the standards introduced by the Supreme Committee related to 2022 infrastructure.

“At the same time, recognising this is a complex issue that is vital for the Qatari authorities to continue to work on with labour experts to ensure that the initiated measures on welfare standards are sustainably implemented for all workers in Qatar and not limited to 2022 projects”

The Qatar 2022 LOC, which started to assume its responsibilities in 2010 right after Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup , will focus on operational planning, tournament preparedness and coordinating with FIFA on all competition related matters. While the SC will continue to deliver all tournament-related infrastructure and coordinate with various government bodies to ensure all related projects are delivered to leave a lasting legacy beyond the tournament.

The LOC, SC and FIFA will work closely together in delivering on the all the requirements to host a historic world cup in the Middle East for the very first time.

Following a recommendation to FIFA’s Executive Committee by the International Match Calendar Task Force to switch the tournament to November and December, Al Thawadi added: “We are ready to host anytime depending on the wishes of the global football community.”