Calgary soccer fan who worked on Qatar World Cup committee ready for trip of a lifetime
For 18 years Bruce Hallady and his family called Qatar home. It’s where his kids were born and a 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.
“This is the most technically enabled World Cup in history,” said Halladay from his Calgary home on Friday. “The technology that’s being deployed to showcase the country and to deliver the tournament itself exceeds anything that’s been done previously.”
During his years on the committee, Halladay laid the foundation for the computer systems for the global tournament.
“I still feel ownership for a small part of what the country has been able to deliver,” Halladay said with a laugh.
Now four years after leaving leaving Qatar, he’s packing his bags and feeling excited not just to see the results of his work, but also to see Canada compete.
“I feel like I’m the teenager that I was the last time they qualified. I’m just looking 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 grew up playing soccer in Calgary with the Blizzard soccer club and remains a huge fan of the game.
“I played through my 20s. It’s always been my favourite sport so this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Everything has come together. It’s something I’m going to cherish forever,” Halladay said.
He’s hoping that young people will be inspired both to play soccer and by the fan experience that comes from the enhanced technology.
“The world is becoming so technologically advanced. The world will need smart people to manage this technology going forward and to use it for good purposes,” Halladay said. “But also grassroots soccer, and hopefully in Canada, people will see the men’s national team finally reaching the level the women have been at for years and having both men and women’s teams now at this level. I love the sport and I just hope that it continues to grow in the country.”
The 2022 World Cup kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 20. Canada is scheduled to play its first match against Belgium on Wednesday, Nov. 23.
Qatar’s World Cup has been the subject of controversy ever since FIFA named it host nation in 2010.
Concerns have been raised about the reported treatment of migrant workers building World Cup infrastructure and Qatar’s stance on LGTBQ2 rights has been 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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