Qatar faces logistical problems ahead of hosting the global sporting event (the 2022 World Cup), which will be held in an Arab country for the first time, and which is expected to be attended by millions of people, according to a report published by Reuters.
The agency produced a report on “the problems in Qatar’s experience with a stadium hosting World Cup matches.”
The report begins by recounting an incident at a train station, in which a supervisor shouted to a passenger, “Stop! Can’t you see the subway station is full? Stop!” while guards in green jackets folded their arms, to restrain. the thousands of fans stream from the stadium that will host a final FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
It happened after midnight on Friday, when about 78,000 people left the stadium, after a match in which the stadium was almost full, to test the preparation of the small Gulf country for the tournament, which starts on November 20.
“Let’s pass! We have children,” shouted a man carrying a child. A woman from the back of the line shouted, “We need water. Is there any water?”
The pitches ran out of water by the break and there was nothing outside as the temperature was 34 degrees Celsius, but because of the humidity the feeling of the temperature was much more intense.
Friday’s match, dubbed the “Lusail Super Cup”, was the first time the new Lusail Stadium had hosted such an audience. The 80,000-seat stadium is the largest of Qatar’s eight World Cup venues, and is designed to host the final on December 18.
Qatar is the first country in the Middle East and the smallest country ever to host the World Cup. Despite spending billions of dollars on infrastructure, it has never organized an event of this scale, and the organization of a World Cup in or around one city is unusual.
Four matches will be played each day in the first 12 days of the tournament around Doha. The International Football Association (FIFA) says that 2.45 million tickets out of a potential 3 million have already been sold, and 1.2 million people are expected to visit Qatar, equivalent to almost half of its population.
Organizers said Friday that 77,575 people passed through the turnstiles, the largest crowd ever in Qatar.
The families of their young children accompanied their young children to the stadium and arrived before the performance of the Egyptian singer, Amr Diab, and a singing link. Hundreds of Saudi fans wore the blue shirt of Saudi club Al Hilal, who defeated Egyptian club Zamalek on penalties after their 1-1 draw.
Asked about these initial issues, a spokesman for the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy told Reuters the purpose of the match was to identify operational issues and learn lessons for a “smooth” tournament.
“Each team involved in the organization of the event has gained invaluable experience which they will bring to this year’s championship,” the spokesperson added in a statement.
“It’s a mess”
In the chaos that followed the game, one of the fans leaving the stadium swore he elbowed a guard in the neck and entered the imposed hoop, followed by several other fans trying to get to the subway came out
The entrance to the station is 400 meters from the stadium, but fans waited in a 2.5-kilometer line in an empty square. Officials said it was to prevent a stampede.
Islam, an Egyptian fan who has lived in Doha since 2004, said as he put his arm around his tired friend while waiting in line: “It’s a mess (…) I don’t want the World Cup anymore attend. I won’t go if that’s the case”.
A supplier told Reuters that some suppliers, caterers, security staff and medical staff had experienced difficulties entering the stadium.
The provider, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, added: “Even some ambulances were wandering around trying to figure out where they were supposed to be stationed. We were repeatedly given wrong directions, and we had permits to go in. our cars into parking spaces that didn’t exist.”
The stadium’s cooling system, which Qatar has described as state-of-the-art, does not appear to be strong enough to keep the stands cool. Humidity and temperature levels will be lower when the tournament starts, but there will be other challenges.
Unlike Friday, ticket holders will be able to drink beer outside the stadiums before and after each game.
Friday’s game was a test of stadium security. Near the field, dark-clad guards and baseball caps stood in the corridors to keep an eye on the fans.
Outside, guards patrolled the sea in groups of five men or five women, each with a button case, some with handfuls of plastic handcuffs.
But preparations extend far beyond the stadiums.
To prevent arrivals from Qatar’s only land border crossing with Saudi Arabia from causing a traffic jam on the roads, organizers are paving a space in a desert area where fans will park their cars and board buses on a 100-kilometer journey on the desert highway to Doha.
The authorities will limit the number of cars on the roads by ordering schools to close during the tournament, banning vehicles from driving in large parts of the city and encouraging companies to let their employees work from home.
An old airport has returned to work to handle additional flights, and work is underway to establish new passport review platforms to triple the number of passengers Qatar can handle. Qatar Airways is also changing 70 percent of its flight schedule to find more landing spots for planes during the tournament.
Desert ships, huts and tents
Qatar faces many challenges in accommodating the fans who will come there to attend the FIFA World Cup matches.
In a previous report, CNN said that Qatar has become the smallest country ever to host the World Cup, which is one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
The Gulf state expects more than a million fans to travel to Doha during the World Cup period, about 37 percent of its population of 2.7 million. The area of the country is approximately 11,500 square kilometers.
The American network listed the fans’ housing options during their visit to Doha to attend the first World Cup matches to be held in the Middle East, where the Qatari authorities will not allow visitors from outside the country to enter , except for those who prove they have a “Haya” card and a confirmed hostel reservation.
The “Haya” card serves as a visa to enter Qatar during the World Cup period.
CNN said the countries that have previously hosted the World Cup have faced logistical difficulties in handling the large number of visiting fans, from transport to accommodation.
She pointed out that the small size of Qatar gives it some advantages, but it will certainly face challenges in accommodating the fans as the Qatari authorities have developed options for accommodation in addition to the hotels available to to receive the tournament’s guests.
Two luxury ships
Qatar used two luxury cruise ships to accommodate a number of visiting World Cup fans as the two ships docked at a port in the capital, Doha, to receive the guests.
The ships include nine swimming pools, 3,898 cabins and 45 bars, and other amenities include a spa and tennis courts.
The ships are a 10-minute bus ride from central Doha, but staying in one of the spacious cabins won’t come cheap.
Accommodation rates range from $605 to $2,779 per night, including breakfast.
Apartments and villas
The Qatar Housing Agency aims to provide 100,000 to 130,000 house rooms on any given night of the 28-day tournament.
Ticket holders already have listings for apartments and one- to six-bedroom villas, with prices ranging from $84 to $875 a night.
Most are easily accessible by public transport and the villas are fully equipped with kitchens, washing machines, swimming pools and gyms.
The towns of the masses
Ticket holders can rent accommodation in so-called fan villages, which are described as “casual camping and cabin-style accommodation”.
At $207 a night, the basic mini cabins are expensive, with only a kettle, fridge and two bottles of water a day.
It is spread on the outskirts of Doha, 32 km from the airport. There will be a number of dining and entertainment options available on site.
The camping option is not yet available on the tournament’s official accommodation website, but the head of accommodation for the Supreme Committee, Omar Al-Jaber, said he plans to pitch 1,000 “Bedouin-style” tents in the desert during the tournament.
Al-Jaber told Reuters that about 200 of the 1,000 tents will be classified as “luxury” and will cost “expensive” fees, providing an “authentic” experience for fans. The tents will be equipped with air conditioners to match the high temperatures during the day.
Accommodation in Qatar is expected to be so limited that the country has opted to host ticket holders in neighboring countries and operate them on short flights every day.
Qatar Airways announced in May that it had partnered with regional airlines to launch an additional 160 daily return flights at “competitive prices” that will transport fans from Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat and Riyadh.
There will be no baggage facilities to expedite transfers and dedicated shuttle services will be provided to transport supporters from the airport to the stadiums.
It will also be possible to drive from cities such as Riyadh, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, all of which are less than seven hours away by car.