Qatar 2022, which is attempting to bring the FIFA World Cup to the Middle East for the first time ever, is getting a big kick from Facebook, as its page on the social network has drawn more than 500,000 fans.
The host nations for the 2018 and 2022 soccer tournaments will be announced Wednesday.
Qatar 2022 said its Facebook page has received Likes from countries including Egypt (90,000), Jordan (45,000), Saudi Arabia (38,000), Qatar (31,000), Lebanon (23,000), Nigeria (22,000), Palestine (18,000), Ghana (17,000), the United States (14,000), Kenya (14,000), Israel (10,000), and South Africa (6,000).
The organization added that U.S. English was the most common language used to access its Facebook page, at 265,000, followed by Arabic (113,000), U.K. English (60,000), and French (20,000).
Qatar 2022 Bid CEO Hassan Al Thawadi said:
There is a groundswell of public support building for our bid across the Middle East and further afield, and these numbers back that up. Our online support is particularly impressive given lower Internet penetration in the Middle East, especially when compared with North America and Europe. Most of it is coming from young people aged 13-24 and, interestingly, around one-quarter is from girls and women.
Our online support represents just the tip of the iceberg for a region that is passionate about football. With the population of the Middle East set to double to more than 700 million in the next decade, over one-half of whom will be under 30, there are huge opportunities to grow the game across the Middle East, and this is something we will be communicating to FIFA when we present to its executive committee next week.