Media Content Manager for Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) James Varley stressed that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 left an unprecedented legacy in the history of sporting events, pointing out that people around the world will continue to praise that World Cup edition for decades to come, in light of the tournament's positive impact on societies around the world.
In an interview with the Qatar2022.qa website, within a new series for the SC to highlight the efforts made by its team that played a key role in the journey of organizing the World Cup. "Simply to have played a small role in delivering the tournament. I feel the real story of this World Cup will be told in 20 or 30 years from now, when people look back and see the impact it has had. I think its going to leave a major legacy for this country and everyone who was involved in it. For me personally, Im very proud to have played even a small part in making it happen," said Varley.
"I joined the SC in January 2014 and spent the first few years setting up various internal communications channels. My brief expanded in 2017 to include all corporate communications, plus managing the media content team. During the World Cup, I managed a team of 15, including writers, translators, photographers, videographers and producers. Together we developed a vast range of content - such as press releases, website stories, fact sheets, videos and social content - for host country channels and media platforms around the world," Varley added.
Regarding the motive behind his decision to join the SC, Varley said: "Working on the biggest sporting event in the world felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Growing up, I never dreamed of working on an event like this it simply wasnt on my radar. Getting the chance to work on the first World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world was something I couldnt turn down. The legacy being created here will be unmatched in the history of sporting events. I had to be involved." Varley indicated that his team's strategy focused on developing a 360-degree content strategy which meant when they covered an important story, they created all the different types of content required, whether written, photography, video, and fact sheets.
"We made sure the content could be posted on our channels while being suitable for media to pick up and use around the world. The objective was to cover all bases and make it as simple as possible for the media to publish our stories. The strategy proved to be very successful over the years and delivered earned media worth millions of dollars," Varley said.
Regarding the biggest achievements and most memorable moments, Varley stressed that the biggest achievement was delivering so much quality content and seeing it shared around the world - telling the story of Qatar 2022 everywhere. "We focused on showcasing the human impact of the tournament and the legacy it will leave for the country and region," he said.
As for the events that hold special significance for him, SC Media Content Manager James Varley considered that launching Khalifa International Stadium was a proud moment. It was very emotional when HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani cut the ribbon at the stadium.
As for the tournament itself, the opening ceremony at Al Bayt was such a huge landmark. After so many years of build-up, to finally see the World Cup here in Qatar was spine-tingling.
He indicated the importance of planning and being prepared. One thing he drilled into his team throughout the years they worked together was the more prepared they are, the more content they deliver ahead of time, and the easier their lives will be during the tournament because there will always be curveballs thrown at you during the event.
When asked about his favorite memory of the tournament, Varley said: "It would have to be the final. It was an unbelievable match and a privilege to be there. Seeing Lionel Messi lift the trophy was the perfect end to the perfect tournament. It was such a privilege to attend the greatest final in World Cup history - I felt like I was walking on air afterward." SC Media Content Manager said that the best advice he can give is to immerse yourself in everything these events have to offer. They are genuinely life-changing for the people who take part in them, the people who deliver them and for the fans who attend.
These are global events that everybody marks in their calendar. Everybody wants to be a part of them, and working on one is just an incredible privilege - so grab it with both hands and get involved in the thick of the action.
UK-born, James previously worked as a newspaper reporter, feature writer, editor, and video-journalist. He spent two seasons with English Premier League team Leeds United before moving to Qatar to support FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 preparations.
In a related context, James Varley indicated that he joined the SC in January 2014 and spent the first few years setting up various internal communications channels. His brief expanded in 2017 to include all corporate communications, plus managing the media content team. During the World Cup, he managed a team of 15, including writers, translators, photographers, videographers, and producers.