Qatar 2022 general secretary Hassan al-Thawadi (Getty Images)

(WFI) The head of Qatar 2022 says World Cup organisers shouldn’t be held to a schedule when it comes to improving the Gulf nation’s human rights record.

Last week, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said a timetable would be drawn up with goals for the country to meet in terms of curbing the reported widespread migrant worker abuse.

However, Qatar 2022 general secretary Hassan Al-Thawadi says that would be the wrong way of handling the matter.

“I don’t think you can set any timeline because it depends on each different nation and the level they are in,” Al-Thawadi said at the Doha GOALS conference, according to The Daily Telegraph.

“But, from December 2, 2010, Qatar 2022 has been committed towards workers’ welfare and we have always indicated very clearly that the initiatives we are undertaking are a continuation of the initiatives the government is taking and governmental and non-governmental agencies are taking.”

Al-Thawadi said he is “proud to say” that the contracts for work on the Al-Wakrah stadium include provisions that address worker welfare on a range of issues “from accommodation to remuneration.”

Qatar’s standards for migrant workers is one of a number of criticisms the Gulf state has faced since it secured the World Cup three years ago.

“Yes, the focus is on Qatar nine years ahead,” said Al-Thawadi, “and it is much more intense and in certain areas much more vicious.

“But any other nation that has hosted a major tournament has faced the same kind of criticism, the same kind of doubts and skepticism, including London 2012.”

Having previously faced criticisms over Qatar’s summer heat, Al-Thawadi added: “From the beginning, we’ve always said we can stage the World Cup in summer.

“The cooling system for the stadia will be very much part of our legacy,” he emphasised. “But if the football world or FIFA want it to be staged in the winter, then we are happy and ready. If they want it in summer, then we are still ready.”

Qatar Announces Training Institute

Also at Doha GOALS, Al-Thawadi announced plans for the Josoor Institute, an education and training facility to open in Qatar.

The institute will train many of those responsible for helping to stage the 2022 World Cup.

The intention will then be for them to apply their expertise in delivering large-scale events, sporting and otherwise, throughout the region after the World Cup.

Among courses taught will be those on the business of football, running major events, and creating a culture of volunteering. Courses “will combine classroom-based theory with practical learning” through outreach days, short courses, and a range of professional certifications.

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee is a founding partner of the institute. More than 1,000 participants are expected in attendance for the first year, which will begin in October.

“We believe that learning inspires young people and provides a clear means to improve their lives,” said minister of youth and sport Salah bin Ghanim Al Ali. “That is why we aim to make sport a way of life in Qatar.”

By INSIDER’s Nick Devlin

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