DOHA: The president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation has thanked the Qatari hosts of the FIFA World Cup for the warm welcome given to the Saudi team on its arrival in Doha.
And Yasser Al-Misehal also praised the Qatar 2022 organizing committee and Qatar Football Association for their work over the past 12 years in preparing what he described as “truly world-class facilities” for the event.
He said the Kingdom’s football community was proud to be taking part in the biggest sports event in the world, being held for the first time in the Middle East.
Al-Misehal pointed out that the tournament, which kicks off on Sunday, represented a special moment in sporting history for the region and offered a unique chance to celebrate football, share common values of tolerance, solidarity, and friendship, while presenting an opportunity to better connect and understand differences.
An estimated 500,000 Saudi and Middle East fans are expected to attend the competition, many of them traveling to a World Cup for the first time.
The SAFF also noted the off-the-field matters that have been making headlines around the world in the run-up to the event, issues it said were important not just for Qatar, but for all nations.
In a statement, FIFA said: “We have the unique occasion and opportunity to welcome and embrace everyone, regardless of origin, background, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or nationality.”
Saudi federation officials wished Qatar every success in hosting and playing in the World Cup and said they were looking forward to a fantastic competition for all teams and fans involved.