Qatar signed on Tuesday a bilateral agreement (2018-2020) for technical co-operation with the Council of Europe, in the framework of the European Convention on Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sport events (CETS No. 218), known as "St Denis Convention".
The inking of the deal comes after Qatar was accepted as an observer member of the Council of Europe as the first Arab nation in the council, which consists of 47 countries and is managed through a council of foreign ministers of member states.
Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni and Qatar Representative to the Council of Europe, Brigadier Ibrahim Khalil al- Mohannadi, on behalf of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), signed the agreement at a ceremony organised at the Palais de l'Europe in Strasbourg.
After the signing, al -Mohannadi expressed his satisfaction with this important step that comes almost four years from Qatar's hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Qatar is the first country in the Middle East to win the bid to host the most important event in world football.
He said Qatar's joining of international organisations and entities is due to the exerted efforts made in this field, in addition to the continuous support received from the wise leadership and the senior officials in the country. "The safety and security of all participants of the FIFA World Cup Qatar is of utmost importance to us. By working closely with the Council of Europe and its member countries, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy can deliver on a unified approach to safety, security, and servicing during the tournament," he said.
Al-Mohannadi expressed his appreciation to the Council of Europe officials for the support they extend to Qatar, which was earlier accepted as an observer member for two years and has now become a signatory to the "St Denis Convention".
The project aims at supporting Qatar to fulfil standards relative to safety, security and service in order to accede to the convention and at the same time to assist the country to prepare for hosting important events, such as the IAAF Athletics World Championships in 2019 in Doha and the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Council of Europe standards and best practices in this field will be essential for this capacity-building action consisting of fact finding visits, comparative analysis of legal frameworks, information seminars and workshops strengthening safety management, international police co-operation and dialogue with supporters. The budget allocated is of 600,000 euros.
Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni said: "Council of Europe's unique legal instruments are pivotal in today's sports' world. We are glad that our normative action is considered so relevant by the State of Qatar, in order to expand a common legal space in this field. This project will contribute to enhance sustainability for sport safety, security and service at important events".