FIFA World Cup 2022

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 3:43 pm on 20th October 2022.

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Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns Conservative, Vale of Glamorgan 3:43 pm, 20th October 2022

I, too, pay tribute to hon. and right hon. Members for all their valued comments. It is extremely important to highlight and recognise the issues, and to look forward with optimism not only to the World cup, but to the legacy that it will leave. I will comment a bit more on the legacy in a moment.

My right hon. Friend the Minister was absolutely right: “Ymlaen, Cymru!” could be “Come on, Wales!”, as he described it. It could be “Forward, Wales!” or “Go, Wales!”, but I do not care how we translate it, as long as it results in a victory. The Red Wall has had a major influence on the optimistic spirit in Wales and the pent-up passion that we have been holding all these years since the last time we attended a World cup.

I am grateful to hon. and right hon. Members for their contributions, and there are a couple of points that I want to pick up on. Many commentators have mentioned the rights of migrant workers. I deliberately pointed to the ILO and its evidence, as mentioned by Bambos Charalambous, but I also encourage hon. and right hon. Members to look at the progress. That is not to say that we have arrived at a destination—nor has any other developed economy—because it is an ever-evolving situation.

There have been some press reports giving data and numbers that have not always been reconciled with an independent body, such as the ILO or FIFA Ethics and Regulations Watch. Therefore, to continue the positive momentum and an intelligent debate, it is always helpful to look at the data, rather than repeat historical data that may or may not be accurate because the evidence is not as obvious.

I encourage colleagues to participate actively in the APPG on Qatar so that we can continue to raise these issues in the positive spirit that both the Minister and I have mentioned. Because of our deep relationship, we can ask tough questions and receive strong answers, and that works in a positive way.

Finally, let me reflect on the comments on legacy. On sustainability, this World cup will be a model for international tournaments on such a scale. The sustainability efforts within it will set the new standard. Qatar has the resources, and has made them available, to make it the greenest tournament possible. There are also the stadiums, to which the UK will have contributed through various architectural design and construction efforts. My right hon. Friend the Minister highlighted the legacy that they will leave, as the stadiums can be rebuilt in some developing nations, and commitments have been made towards supporting football in developing nations as well. That draws attention to the ongoing momentum that sport can bring to the whole region within the middle east.

Qatar has been recognised by the ILO as having made some of the most significant steps and progress in some of the areas that it has been called up on. I hope that the momentum will continue in that way, as well as in developing the sport in Wales, the rest of the UK, the developing nations and everywhere else that values what sport can bring. That brings us back to where I started: Nelson Mandela’s quote that sport can change the world. Let us ensure that the World cup plays its part.

Question put and agreed to.


That this House
has considered the UK’s plans and preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Sitting adjourned.