The World Cup 2022 in Qatar is set to feature some world class infrastructure and venues, given the investment the state has put in for the global showpiece. This was evident after the Al Janoub stadium, the second venue for the 2022 World Cup to be unveiled, was inaugurated in all its splendour.
But for Qatar, pioneering a generation of innovators has also been a major facet towards buiding up to the 2022 World Cup.
"We have always said that this World Cup would be an innovative one right from the beginning. The word innovation comes around 37 times to explain our concept in the bid document. That is what will differentiate our World Cup from the previous ones," Fatma Al-Nuaimi told Goal .
The Communications Director of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), the body responsible for delivering the stadiums, infrastructure and legacy for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, explained the vision for innovation in two forms - tangible and intangible.
"We have been successful in making innovations in two fields. Firstly, the cooling technology - as one will witness when the weather is hot outside. But inside the stadium, during the match, the atmosphere and experience will be very pleasant.
"The cooling technology and the cooling helmets for the workers are innovations that the state of Qatar has invested in. These are something which can be a legacy for countries who have the same atmosphere and climate for mega-events, sporting or otherwise they want to host even beyond the 2022 World Cup. This could be a transfer of knowledge that we could give out."
Al-Nuaimi, who has been Qatar's representative at the World Economic Forum for the past seven years, feels the showpiece event will be a catalyst of change not only in Qatar but the entire Middle-East.
"Also in our bid, we mentioned that this will develop not only Qatar but the whole region. If you read the reports from the World Economic Forum, it tells you how this region has a lot of challenges - like high rate of unemployment especially for youth. You see unskilled workers and many such elements. So, we have come up with different legacy programs to address this challenge and see the World Cup as a catalyst for change.
To shape the intangible legacy, programs like 'Challenge 22' and 'Generation Amazing' were launched. "We always believe that this region has a lot of talent and a lot of bright minds - the World Cup could be an opportunity to shed light on the talents. The idea was to get entrepreneurs and innovators onboard from the region to engage and make them part of this event," she said.
"In Challenge 22, people submitted their ideas and the winning idea got a grant of USD 100,000. From that, they would be working towards commercialization and as a commitment, we would be contracting them as our suppliers. That would help improve the profile of the companies and they could be set up and continue beyond the World Cup."
"Another initiative was setting up the Josoor Institute in December 2013. It aims to provide short courses, diplomas when it comes to delivering mega-events. So, one can specialize or take a course when it comes to facility management for the World Cup or PR marketing for a mega event, technology, legal and many other facets."
The Josoor Institute has international link-ups with Georgetown University, the University of Liverpool and Leeds Beckett University. Most recently, SDA Bocconi School of Management, Italy, which delivers the FIFA Masters programme also joined hands with Josoor.
Al-Nuaimi revealed that the SC keeps a keen eye on the talents that emerge and urged individuals to jump on the opportunity, especially the ones who hail from the region as the institute is open to all.
"We encourage a lot of talent from the region to come and whenever we identify such talent, we ensure they become a part of our workforce. So these people can serve in the tournament and even beyond.
"Qatar belongs to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) so, in Asia is where most of our focus would be," she said.
"Generation Amazing is about using the power of football building pitches and give the youngsters a proper curriculum to follow. We have had a lot of good stories and beneficiaries when it comes to women's football and for the underprivileged. It is expanding and it has a lot of focus in Asia. There have been projects in India, Pakistan Nepal, Philippines and refugees in Jordan."
Generation Amazing, a charitable organisation was also heavily involved in donating funds and relief material after the Kerala floods of 2018 in India.