Sports can help build communities: Emir

December 12, 2012 - 2:48:27 am

The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser arrive at the opening of the Doha Goals Forum yesterday. The Emir’s Personal Representative H H Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Chief of the Emiri Diwan H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani are also seen. AR Al Baker

DOHA: The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has urged policymakers to use sports as a tool to build communities, saying investing in youth would give a head-start to the future generations in dealing with the challenges of the 21st century. 

The Emir was addressing a large gathering of athletes, former heads of states and giants of the sports industry on the second day of the inaugural edition of the Doha Goals Forum. 

“Although sport is the cause of our gathering here in Doha today, it’s important to remember that sport is not a mere activity for fun and entertainment, but a tool and a means for building communities, thanks to its ability to entrench the principles of justice, peace, unity, friendship, co-operation and co-existence,” the Emir said at the Aspire Zone. 

“As intellectuals and decision-makers, I hope you will work out a road map to nudge sport to where it can assist in the development and innovativeness of our communities,” the Emir added.

“Sport has the ability to transcend cultural and ideological barriers and all forms of disparity,” the Emir told an audience that included former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, South Africa’s Rugby World Cup skipper, Francois Pienaar, and double leg amputee Oscar Pistorius.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter, FIA chief Jean Todt from France, Chief of the London Olympic Games, Sebastian Coe, track and field star Carl Lewis of the US and Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi were among those present in the gathering. 

“We give all care and attention to the youth; they are our most valuable assets. With them we proceed forward confidently towards the future to make a better world; they are the charm of life,” the Emir said.

“As you know, our Arab region stands on the verge of a quantum leap. The Arab Spring bloomed into a generation of young people who are determined to achieve their dreams and ambitions,” the Emir added.

The Emir said the Doha Goals Forum was launched to bring together the best brains from the world of sports so that they could become catalysts for a global change in the way sports is looked at.

“It’s more than a mere event or forum. It’s an initiative intended for coming out with tangible results. It’s a forum that would provide the opportunity for decision-makers like you to work out a road map for positive change through sport, and launch cross-border initiatives,” the Emir explained. 

“The opportunity is available to you these days to look at sport from this perspective, how sport could contribute to building communities? How can we initiate together an understanding that transcends cultural boundaries?

“Your participation in this forum raises optimism that the important initiatives it will declare to promote the status of sport would not just be on paper but would be translated into viable initiatives that remind us that we belong to one world,” the Emir added. 

The Emir also stressed that Qatar had a firm conviction about the importance of sport in stimulating various types of development.  


“That has led us to invest in building huge structures and sport facilities, as this prestigious one where we gather today, which is known as Aspire,” the Emir explained.
“Out of our belief that hosting major sporting events aims to go beyond fun and excitement because it is an important element in the development drive, knowledge building and job creation, not only at the local level, but beyond that, due to its benefits at the regional level to contribute to formulating a bright future for the Middle East,” the Emir said. 
“Accordingly, came our decision to bid to host the World Football Cup in 2022, which was received positively by Fifa, not only due to their confidence in Qatar’s readiness to host international events at the sport, political and economic levels, but because of their sharing with us the same belief in the significance of holding such tournament in the Middle East, due to its role in advancing the development process and achieving stability in the region.
“We, in Qatar, believe that sports is a message of love and peace that is based on the human being, and your presence here today is the best proof that the peoples of the world share this passion,” the Emir said.
The Peninsula 

The Peninsula