Football is a powerful tool. It has an unmatched ability to break down social barriers and build bridges across cultures.
At the Qatar @roadto2022 Exhibition – currently being held at JK Iguatemi mall in Sao Paulo, Brazil – a set of crowdsourced photographs highlights Qatar’s passion for the beautiful game and the strong grassroots football culture in the next FIFA World Cup host nation.
The photographs are the result of a collaboration between the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the organisation responsible for delivering the infrastructure and legacy programmes for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, and UK-based Goal Click.
Participants in the project, including those working to deliver the FIFA World Cup, community leaders, photographers, football fans and others, were each given a single disposable camera which offered just 27 chances to take the perfect picture. The brief for each photographer was simple: capture football in Qatar as you see it. And the results – glorious in their imperfections – are a reminder of what football means to the people of Qatar and how it helps to unite one of the most diverse countries in the world.
Fatma al-Nuaimi, the SC’s Communications Director, said the photographs highlight the important role football plays in Qatar’s society. “The photographs succeed in showing what football means to people in our country. We’re a diverse nation, with many nationalities and cultures. Football brings everyone together – it doesn’t matter where you come from or what language you speak; we all understand football.”
The project plays into the wider goals of Qatar 2022 – namely to host a tournament which builds bridges between East and West and breaks down cultural stereotypes.
Al-Nuaimi added: “We have said from day one that hosting the World Cup in Qatar is a golden opportunity to change people’s perceptions about our country and region. For billions of people, 2022 will be the first time they engage with the Arab world. And thanks to football, we will celebrate something that unites us all – a love of sport and a passion for the beautiful game.”
The exhibition features 30 pictures from 20 photographers. The photographers include SC Ambassador – and football legend – Samuel Eto’o, who took a picture which features Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah City. Other photographers include Tamim El Abed, the SC’s Lusail Stadium Project Manager, who took a snap of the venue which will host the FIFA World Cup final in 2022.
Maha al-Badr, an ambassador for the SC’s Generation Amazing programme, explained the story behind her picture, which is also featured in the exhibition.
“This photo was taken in our neighbourhood park and features my cousins and their friends. I took the picture because it represents Qatari culture and shows how much we love football. I think football is the only game that everyone in Qatar knows and enjoys playing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or boy, child or adult, you can play football anytime, anywhere.”
Local photographer Lubaib Gazir has two photographs in the exhibition. He explained the story behind the picture of his sister running with a ball at the Museum of Islamic Art Park, with Doha’s stunning West Bay skyline as the backdrop.
“About 15 years ago, I used to run along this path during family picnics. At that time, there were maybe five tall buildings in the background. My sister is following in my footsteps but now the amount of skyscrapers is overwhelming. The rapid development of the country gearing up to host the World Cup is very exciting – it’s something we’re all looking forward to.”
The Qatar @roadto2022 Exhibition at JK Iguatemi mall runs until 24 June. As well as the Goal Click photographs, there is FIFA World Cup memorabilia, models of the eight Qatar 2022 stadiums, details about Qatar’s Asian Cup victory and information about SC Ambassadors. Located on the 3rd floor of the mall, the exhibition is open every day from 10 AM to 10 PM.
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