For 18 years, Bruce Hallady and his family called Qatar home. It’s where his children were born and raised – a place they call their second home.
The Calgary IT professional spent the last of those years on the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy — the entity responsible for overseeing all construction and infrastructure projects for the World Cup.
FIFA World Cup: ‘Dress conservatively, act discreetly’, Canada warns fans in Qatar
“This is the most tech-enabled World Cup in history,” Halladay said Friday from his home in Calgary. “The technology deployed to showcase the country and to deliver the tournament itself surpasses anything that has been done before.”
During his years on the committee, Halladay laid the groundwork for the computer systems for the worldwide tournament.
“I still feel ownership for a small part of what the country was able to deliver,” Halladay said with a laugh.
Now four years after leaving Qatar, he is packing his bags and feeling excited not only to see the results of his work, but also to see Canada compete.
“I feel like I’m the teenager I was last time they qualified. I just look forward to going back. It’s going to be a great experience and the fact that Canada is there just puts the cherry on top,” Halladay said.
Halladay played soccer with the Blizzard Soccer Club in Calgary and remains a huge fan of the game.
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“I played through my 20s. It has always been my favorite sport so this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Everything came together. It’s something I’m going to cherish forever,” Halladay said.
He hopes that young people will be inspired to play football as well as by the fan experience that comes from the improved technology.
“The world is so technologically advanced. The world will need smart people to drive this technology forward and to use it for good purposes,” said Halladay. “But also grassroots soccer, and hopefully in Canada, people will see the national men’s team finally reach the level the women have been at for years and have both men’s and women’s teams at this level now. I love the sport and I just hope that it continues to grow in the country.”
The 2022 World Cup kicks off on Sunday, November 20. Canada is scheduled to play its first game against Belgium on Wednesday, November 23.
Qatar’s World Cup has been the subject of controversy since FIFA named it the host country in 2010.
Concerns have been raised over the reported treatment of migrant workers building World Cup infrastructure and Qatar’s stance on LGTBQ2 rights is under fire.
Ottawa is warning Canadians visiting Qatar to support the men’s national soccer team to “dress conservatively” and “behave discreetly.”
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