Doha, 26 February 2023 - Qatari football fanatic Hamad Abdulaziz has been officially recognized as a world record holder after attending 44 of the 64 matches during Qatar 2022.
Detailed planning helped the 39-year-old attend more matches than anyone else at a single FIFA World Cup tournament - and its a record unlikely to be broken in the future.
"Growing up, I dreamt of playing in the World Cup and as the kick-off approached, I found a way of being part of the tournaments success while showing how well everything was organized and how easy it was to get from one stadium to another," said Hamad, who grew up in Al Wakrah and works as a coach for the Generation Amazing Foundation.
Hamad contacted Guinness World Records ahead of the tournament to ensure he would meet their criteria. He needed two witnesses to certify he attended the entirety of every match, with the forms signed ahead of kick-off and at the final whistle.
"After examining the schedule, I saw I could attend three matches a day. There were a lot of close calls but with the help of my brother, who drove me between matches, I was able to break the record, even with just an hour between the end of one match and the start of another," said Hamad.
"At times, the witness would end up leaving before the final whistle, leaving me without a signature. This caused me endless headaches. I quickly learned to get three or four witnesses for every match. In general, everyone was supportive, including some close friends who helped me buy tickets to make my dream come true." Having graduated with a Masters degree in Islamic Finance from Hamad bin Khalifa University, Hamad previously worked in the finance industry before switching his career focus and joining Generation Amazing a Qatar 2022 human and social legacy program in 2017. Hamad is a master coach for the program, which leverages football to teach key life skills in marginalized communities.
"I have been so fortunate to be a part of this tournaments success," said Hamad. "From helping Generation Amazing achieve 1 million beneficiaries to breaking the world record for attending matches, I am so proud to be part of Qatars success. Qatar will have its name in the record books for a long time thanks to this achievement." Qatar hosted the closest version in the modern history of the World Cup, as the distance between two of the eight World Cup stadiums does not exceed one hour from downtown Doha, which allowed the holding of four matches per day during the group stage, with a three-hour interval between each match, where the longest distance between the stadiums is more than 75 km, which separates Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor city and Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah city in the south. The stadiums are connected to an advanced transport network that includes Doha Metro stations and a fleet of modern buses.