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06/03/2018 - 19:38hs

Ambassador ensures Qatar will host 2022 World Cup

Diplomat Mohammed Al-Hayki paid a visit to the offices of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce this Tuesday. He said Brazil has a lot to offer in terms of expertise on hosting major events.

São Paulo – The ambassador of Qatar to Brazil, Mohammed Al-Hayki, guaranteed that his country is meeting all requirements made by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and is sure to host the 22nd FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Bruna Garcia/ANBA

Al-Hayki visited the Arab Chamber in São Paulo

“There is no question that Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup. We encountered several obstacles and we overcame them one by one, starting with the weather: we moved the event from June to November, when temperatures are milder. We dealt with issues involving the sale of alcoholic beverages, and even homosexual tourists (homosexuality is prohibited in the country). Then, you had concerns with terrorism (Saudi Arabia and allied countries severed ties with Qatar on grounds that the latter allegedly funded terrorist groups), and we overcame that. The, corruption and labor issues came up, and we worked that out,” the diplomat told ANBA.

Qatar will be the first Arab country to host a World Cup, which is taking place in November for the first time in history. The championship usually happens from May to July, which is summer in the Gulf, when the weather’s too hot for athletes and fans alike. “We have launched two stadiums. We’re on the right track, and I believe we will host a beautiful event,” said Al-Hayki, who visited the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo this Tuesday (6).

The ambassador is of the opinion that there are three major sports events in the world today: first is the Olympics, second is the World Cup and third is the Asian Cup – which had a problem-free Qatari edition in 2011. “We are ready to welcome world-class events and we hope to rely on Brazil’s cooperation, since it boasts the expertise of having hosted the world’s two biggest sports events, so there is no question that they have a lot to teach us,” he said.

Al-Hayki has been stationed as ambassador to Brazil for five years and four months now. He met with Arab Brazilian Chamber president Rubens Hannun to go over the Brazil-Arab Countries Economic Forum, slated for April 2, as well as discuss other aspects of trade and diplomacy involving the two countries.

In trade, Al-Hayki pointed out that an agreement has been confirmed whereby liquefied natural gas will be imported from Qatar to be used as fuel at Thermoelectric Complex I, in the Port of Sergipe. The facility now under construction in Barra dos Coqueiros, Sergipe, is scheduled to go online in 2020, and that is when imports should begin, as reported by ANBA in January.

“This is a giant project in Sergipe, and Qatar should export 1.3 million tons of LNG per year to the facility, which will transmit power to neighboring states,” Al-Hayki said. The plant will be run by state-owned company Centrais Elétricas de Sergipe (Celse). General Electric has been commissioned to build it, while Samsung is handling its LNG Floating Storage and Regasification Unit. A 25-year contract has been entered into with Qatar.

The ambassador also said beef and poultry exports from Brazil to Qatar are unharmed by [Brazilian federal police probe] Operação Carne Fraca. According to him, this was so because Qatar and Brazil are in good standing and because coordinated crisis management work has been carried out.

Al-Hayki also remarked that Brazilian authorities have made recent visits to Qatar, including Brazil’s then-Defense minister and current minister extraordinaire for Public Security, Raul Jungmann, who convened with Qatar’s emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in December 2017. “It was a good visit. The countries entered into a military exchange agreement providing for the training of cadets,” he said. Al Hayki said Brazil’s president Temer is expected in Qatar in the first half of this year.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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