Doha: The Chairman of the English Football Association (The FA) has met with Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) Secretary General H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi and Qatar Football Association President (QFA) H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al Thani in Doha to sign Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) to promote and improve football, share resources and expertise, develop knowledge, understanding and expansion of grassroots initiatives across the world and provide life skills to young and vulnerable people through combined CSR sporting programmes.
The FA Chairman, Greg Clarke, and QFA President H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al Thani met on Wednesday 14 February to sign an MoU between the FA and QFA, the governing body of football in Qatar.
The signing ceremony took place at the home of Qatar’s football family (SC, QFA and Qatar Stars League) in Al Bidda Tower in Doha and was attended by Saoud Al Mohannadi, Vice President of the QFA, Mansoor Al Ansari, General Secretary of the QFA, Ali Dawood, Executive Director of the QFA President office, Mushtaq Al Waeli, Executive Director of Strategy and Institutional Development of the QFA.
The agreement focuses on cooperation and sharing of expertise in several key areas including football development, grassroots football, youth developments, women’s football, player performance and management and administration.
The FA and QFA will also focus on joint efforts to explore the possibility of organising friendly matches between the national teams across the different age groups.
Discussions for the collaboration began when both Presidents met in October 2017 during the recent Aspire4Sport Conference & Exhibition in London in which they discussed ways and means to develop the game in the two countries and other key areas relating to football.
H.E. Sheikh Hamad said: “We are proud to sign this cooperation agreement with The FA in order to develop our existing strong ties for the development and promotion of football in Qatar. This is a great opportunity for us to exchange experiences and expertise in different aspects including national teams, grassroots football, youth development and player performance which will have a direct positive impact on football ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.”
“We have a long standing relationship with the FA which began many years ago and I hope that this agreement would build our relationship further for the betterment of football in both countries.”
On the agreement reached with the QFA, Greg Clarke said: “The FA is pleased to commit to this knowledge-sharing partnership with the Qatar Football Association.
“We have a long history of collaboration with various national associations to share knowledge and experience to support the development of football. For Qatar, developing the game across the country is a key objective as they approach the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022”.
The FA Chairman, Greg Clarke, and the SC Secretary General also signed an MoU during a special ceremony at Al Bidda Tower. The partnership between the world’s first football governing body and the SC pledges to help provide life skills to young and vulnerable people through sports training programmes to impact their lives positively and introduce positive social change in their communities.
Under the terms of the MoU the SC will explore ways for The FA to become involved in Generation Amazing, the SC’s football development programme that operates in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Nepal and Pakistan, building footballing infrastructure and using sport to address social issues in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The MoU also includes the delivery of leadership programmes hosted by The FA and access to coach development support, among other things.
Meanwhile, the SC will invite players, coaches and/or relevant staff members from The FA to attend its key events in Qatar and other Generation Amazing countries and support FA Education in its international development.
The visit follows a successful meeting between the two leaders in November 2017, when Al Thawadi was a guest of Clarke at Wembley Stadium for the England vs Germany international fixture.
During the dinner at Wembley Stadium, they discussed a future partnership based on their joint and resounding commitments to helping disadvantaged people through the power of sport, and Al Thawadi expressed his delight that those discussions have come to fruition.
He said: “Following our meeting in the U.K. at the end of last year, Qatar’s footballing family is pleased to welcome Greg Clarke and The FA to Qatar. “During my visit, I was delighted to see that our organisations shared the same vision of ensuring that we use the power of football to help create opportunities in education, health and many other areas for disadvantaged young people from impoverished backgrounds.”
“Through Generation Amazing, our own football for development programme launched in 2009, we have been striving to do just that and the programme has already benefitted over 35,000 young people. The FA has a long history of making a real difference through grassroots footballing initiatives and there is no clearer example of this than their Parklife programme, which I witnessed first-hand when I visited their first ‘Parklife Football Hub’ in Sheffield.
“We have always said that the Qatar World Cup will leave a lasting legacy in Qatar and around the world, long after the last ball has been kicked in 2022, and we’re sure that this MoU will support our joint vision and that our respective programme teams can learn from one another and help to provide even more opportunities for young people for many years to come.”
FA Chairman Greg Clarke said: “The FA is pleased to support the work of the Supreme Committee as they look beyond the World Cup in 2022 and consider its legacy. One area of this legacy is increasing football participation, and as we know well in England, this is highly reliant on the provision of facilities. We look forward to sharing our experiences in this area.
“The second element of our agreement is in support of the Generation Amazing initiatives which address social issues in countries through football. We hope that this will provide some rewarding opportunities particularly for young people developing their coaching and their leadership skills.”
Prior to the MoU signing ceremonies, Clarke visited Khalifa International Stadium – the first 2022 FIFA World Cup™ stadium to open – and the adjoining Aspire Zone for a tour of the facilities. He also visited the SC’s Legacy Pavilion in Al Bidda Tower, to see for himself the plans in place for 2022 and beyond.
The British Ambassador to Qatar, H.E. Mr Ajay Sharma joined the delegation for the tour and signing ceremonies. He said: “I am delighted that the English Football Association has signed MoUs with the Qatar Football Association and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy during the visit to Doha of the FA chairman Greg Clarke. This will mark the beginning of even deeper cooperation between our two countries, and underlines the UK’s support for Qatar in delivering a successful World Cup 2022.”