Doha GOALS 2013 will be remembered for the series of firsts that were delivered throughout the forum amongst them, the first ever Sports Ministers Summit and the launch of the first initiatives to benefit from the actions agreed at Doha GOALS last year.
The second edition of the forum - the world’s leading platform focusing on sport as a driver for social change and economic progress - was attended by 1,500 participants from 70 countries, including 150 speakers and 30 sporting champions with star names including Michael Johnson, Boris Becker, Nadia Comaneci, Tony Hawk, Hicham el Guerrouj and Dame Kelly Holmes.
International media gathered en masse in Doha with over 250 media and press delegates in attendance, with 30 countries and 110 media outlets represented. 400 students from 20 universities and high schools also joined the forum.
Concluding today, the three day forum hosted the first ever Sports Ministers Summit where 16 Sports Ministers and senior representatives of government from over 20 countries gathered in Qatar's capital to discuss the important role played by sport to promote innovation, economic growth, social inclusion and cohesion.
The discussion, hosted by H.E. Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser Al Ali, Qatar’s Minister of Youth and Sports, co-hosted by H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Mubarak Al-Thani, executive director, and Richard Attias, executive producer Doha GOALS, and facilitated by Lord Mandelson, chairman of Global Counsel, saw the participants consider how sport can play an important role in addressing some of the most important economic, social and political challenges facing the world today, including youth unemployment, corruption and poor health.
The outcomes of the Summit were summarised in the Doha GOALS Accord, which will be combined with the 100 recommendations from participants during the Forum. Attias announced at the closing session that, following dialogue with the Australian government, the new host nation of the G20, the outcomes of Doha GOALS will be heard by the G20.
H.E. Minister Al Ali said: “This has been an important step towards better and stronger collaboration between Ministers of Sport so that we can build a case for sport to be given higher priority at a policy level.”
H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Mubarak Al Thani said: “Important discussions have been had about how sport can be used as a bridge for cultures, as well a way to promote peace and fight prejudice.”
Attias confirmed: “I am delighted to be able to say that we will be here again next year to ensure we continue to act upon the many interested and varied discussions that we have had here this year. Hundreds of ideas were discussed in the task forces and these will be brought to G20 in 2014 ahead of the third edition of Doha GOALS 2014 in December, which will also see the second Sports Ministers Summit take place.”
Four life-changing initiatives were announced at the opening session of Doha GOALS, and MoUs were signed by H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Mubarak Al Thani, Executive Director of Doha GOALS with Afghanistan, Gabon and Palestine. They included a Sport Fields Initiative, a program to give children around the world access to prosthetics, the Sport Solidarity Fund ‘from the athletes to the athletes’ to support them and their families when suffering from sustained injuries as well as during post-retirement, and an international U15s football championships to take place in Qatar.
In a headline conversation with Francois Moriniere, director general of L'Equipe group, Hassan Al-Thawadi, secretary general of Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, declared that Qatar will be ready to stage the World Cup - whether it's held in winter or summer. “From the beginning, we’ve always said we can stage the World Cup in summer. 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.”
Al Thawadi also underlined how the 2022 FIFA World Cup was a boost not only for Qatar but also for the entire Middle East. “There are so many misconceptions about the Middle East and the World Cup in 2022 will go a long way to showing the world the friendliness, hospitality and sense of humour of the Middle East. It is a great opportunity for us all to come together."
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Richard Attias & Associates.