Since winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar has started to mobilise its efforts, employ its experiences and expertise, and strengthen its regional and international cooperation to secure this global event, making it the safest and most secure World Cup edition.
The State of Qatar has inspiring experiences, wisdom and insight in hosting international mega events and activities that require crowd management and achieving the maximum levels of safety and security for participants and visitors from all around the world.
Qatar's recent history includes a long list of organising hundreds of international events, forums, and mega sports events. One of the biggest sports tournaments organised by Qatar was the 15th Asian Games (XV Asiad) which was described as "the games of a lifetime" given the exceptional success in security and organisation. The list goes on to include the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics, the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, the 2015 World Men's Handball Championship, and more than 500 other regional and international sports tournaments organised over the past 15 years.
Qatar's success in securing sporting events is not strange for a country that enjoys political, social, and economic stability as well as a high level of security as affirmed by global indicators that classify Qatar as one of the most secure countries in the world and ranks among the top in societal safety and security according to these indicators.
Talking in numbers, according to Global Peace Index (GPI), Qatar ranked first among the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), while it ranked 23rd globally among 163 countries included in the report on the level of security, advancing by six places over the previous year, as the safest and most secure state.
The Global Peace Index report issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) in Australia is based on three main criteria, including: the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarization. In addition, there are a host of other criteria related to the internal and external affairs of states.
Qatar has maintained its high rank in several security indicators contained in the report, including criminality in society, terrorist activity, homicides, safety, and security, organised internal conflicts, and terrorism and political stability.
Qatar also ranked first globally, within the Arab world, and within the Middle East in the Security Index for the year 2022, issued by the worldwide database (Numbeo).
All these indicators affirm that extending safety and security is an indispensable priority, a consistent approach no matter the circumstances, and a right for everyone who lives in this country or visiting as a guest. Based on that, Qatar has placed the safety of all participants of FIFA World Cup Qatar whether teams, fans, or visitors at the top of its main priorities to prepare in advance to secure this event and guarantee full readiness on various logistical, human, and technical levels.
To achieve maximum safety and security, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Safety and Security Operations Committee (SSOC) has launched a bundle of plans, programs, training and qualification workshops, and joint exercises, to raise the human cadre capabilities, in implementation of the tournament's security strategy.
Among the training programs designed for governmental and private security, the program on the security and safety of sports fans which included several training courses on stadium safety and security, security sense, crowd management, human rights, first aid, cooperation with the crowd, in addition to the Tournament Policies and Procedures program which covered facility evacuation simulations and training on how to deal with possible scenarios.
These programs were conducted in cooperation with specialised experts from the European Police and Europol with 49,000 participants - 32,000 individuals from government security and 17,000 individuals from private security.
In Nov. 2021, the SSOC organised the 'Watan' joint exercise to confirm security readiness. The exercise was conducted with the participation of all military, civil, organisational, and service authorities in the country, each according to its competence along with 13 brotherly and friendly countries.
The "Watan" security exercise was the largest of its kind in terms of the number of participating authorities internally and externally, in addition to the evolving of its events to combine security, military, organisational, and service aspects. It also featured the diversification of its various scenarios and gradations based on all kinds of potential internal and external risks during the tournament's organisation.
At the time of the exercise, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) pointed out that the exercise aims to enhance close cooperation with the brotherly and friendly forces participating in it and to ensure the integration of efforts and cooperation to achieve the best security experiences in major sporting events hosted by the State of Qatar.
The SSOC said that the "Watan" exercise resembles an integration of the civil and military authorities' roles and that these authorities deliver the same message "Qatar is a ready and safe country that has harmonious authorities with ready personnel to organise a safe tournament." Regarding foreign cooperation, the State of Qatar strengthened its cooperation with regional and international partners. The State of Qatar signed several agreements and memoranda of understanding with different countries and international organisations such as (Interpol, the International Centre for Sport Security ISCC, The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation Europol) to ensure a smooth exchange of information and expertise in the security domains to strengthen the security of the tournament and leaves a global legacy to be used by countries wishing to host mega sports events.
The Last Mile Security Conference, organised by the SSOC in May 2022, was a testament to Qatar's keenness to follow up the implementation of security plans and strategies in cooperation with regional and international partners, strengthen bilateral cooperation in the security field, and to stand on the final required security preparations.
The conference also witnessed the signing of an agreement between the State of Qatar and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to extend cooperation for (Project Stadia), which was established by Interpol in 2012, with funding and support from the State of Qatar, with the aim of serving countries wishing to host major sporting events. In addition, a joint declaration on the International Police Cooperation Center also was signed between the State of Qatar and a number of countries participating in the conference.
In the context of international cooperation, as well as achieving the highest levels of security during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the State of Qatar established the International Police Cooperation Center (IPCC) with the launch of the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019. The IPCC is an operations room managed and supervised by the SSOC, and it has been provided with the latest advanced technological means and the necessary infrastructure for the centre to perform its role and achieve its goals. A group of young, qualified officers with outstanding skills has also been deployed at the centre.
The State of Qatar crowned these efforts by hosting the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021, which offered an opportunity to measure security, logistical, and organisational readiness. The FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 constituted a true test for the quality of the security services that will be provided to World Cup fans and participants alike in a new inspirational experience shared with the world.
In his statement in September 2022 regarding the updates of securing World Cup Fans, Colonel Jassem Al-Sayed from the SSOC said that FIFA World Cup Qatar will not just be the most successful in terms of organisation but will also be the safest and most secure. He added that previous tournaments organised by Qatar had given the SSOC a great deal of experience in terms of security matters.
Qatar's security efforts in preparation for the World Cup were praised by FIFA. During the "Last Mile" security conference, FIFA's Director of Security Helmut Spahn stressed that the level of integration and partnership that has been achieved with the SSOC reassures that the tournament will be delivered to the highest safety standards.
Spahn said that the State of Qatar spared no effort in building comprehensive international cooperation, something that FIFA has been very supportive of from the start. He added that considering Qatar's efforts regarding the planning aspects, FIFA is confident that the country will deliver a safe and secure tournament for all participants.
Spahn stressed that FIFA as the governing body of the game participated in the preparations for the tournament in Qatar, adding that since being established in 2012, the SSOC has been working closely with FIFA.
In a related context, project "Stadia" a Qatari project that started in 2012 in collaboration with Interpol is one of the main projects that took shape after Qatar won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup. The project aims to help member countries of the Interpol organisation set and implement police and security measures within the framework of preparing for mega sports events. The 12-year running project contributes to the police and security arrangements for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which leaves a sustainable legacy for the world law enforcement mediums.
As for the project and its role in securing mega events, the Director General of Stadia Project Falah Al Dosari said, in his statements on the sidelines of the Last Mile' security conference, that the State of Qatar managed to qualify its national cadres on the highest levels, making the Stadia project guided by Qatari cadres and nominate them to participate in international sporting events, to benefit from the knowledge earned by the law enforcement agencies in the State of Qatar in securing these major events. He added that all the data indicate that the upcoming World Cup will be the safest and most secure edition.
He clarified that the success of the Stadia project was a catalyst for the signing of the extension agreement for a period of two years ending in 2024 due to the urgent need for such a project that works to leave a common international legacy.
With wisdom, insight, and multidimensional vision, the State of Qatar continues its security preparations to host the FIFA World Cup. During the preparations, Qatar managed to shape its philosophy by qualifying its security cadres who will oversee this national mission and establishing regional and international partnerships to benefit from experiences and expertise. The will of Qatari citizens and residents remains the main front line to secure the tournament so that Qatar once again proves to be the world's safest place and the worthiest to host such a global event.