Whenever Qatar hosts a major international event, the legacy the country leaves behind is absolutely awesome. Greater heights and landmarks of excellence are recorded. The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 which concluded yesterday, has taken the host nation’s organising prowess to unprecedented levels, earning praise from over 1mn fans who converged on Qatar and from the billions who watched the 29-day, 32-nation tournament from all corners of the globe. FIFA President Gianni Infantino hailed the Qatar edition of the World Cup as the “best ever” while addressing the FIFA Council meeting in Doha last Friday. “Football reinforced its unique cohesive power by uniting the world in a spirit of peace and friendship”, he stated while describing the achievements of the event.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stands out for impeccable crowd management, a holistic transportation, a highly secure environment and an inclusive approach within the cultural and traditional ethos, as a cross section of fans told Gulf Times in metro stations and at the FIFA Fan Festival. While the compact nature of the event was a great boon for the football fans to attend several matches on a single day, it has also been a great enabler of better cultural exchange and festivities across the country. According to many residents, the event brought a cross-section of the world’s population to Qatar, facilitating greater interaction between the residents and the visitors. While all the eight stadiums are situated in and around the city, the longest distance between the two farthest venues stadiums is just around 50km from Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor to Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakra.
The words of a Guatemalan national who has attended three World Cup tournaments echoed the sentiments of most people who experienced the Qatar edition. The Brazil fan explained: “When, I had attended the tournaments, I stayed in one city and then moved to another city after the game. So there we used to meet the supporters of our rival team and they were the only other international fans who could be in the city. But in Qatar, we see the fans of all the teams and we interact with everyone. In addition we also meet people from several other countries. So it is another learning experience for me as I could make many friends not only from Qatar but from many other countries. This was something very unique and heartening.”
Another interesting fact was that fans of different teams used to gather at various places in the city especially at Souq Waqif, Corniche, Doha Metro stations as well as Katara and attend various activations. The World Cup also saw several fans wearing the traditional Qatari head gear as well as enjoying the great Arabian hospitality and the great Arabic coffee - Qahwa. The Qatar edition stands unique on several counts and cultural exchange and common festivities had a greater place in the course of the tournament.
The flawless public transportation operated by Qatar Rail’s Doha Metro and Lusail Tram and bus services by Mowasalat (Karwa) have been lauded by one and all. The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and FIFA also delivered the most accessible FIFA World Cup in history. The tournament included a vast range of accessibility features, including five types of accessible tickets, sensory rooms, audio descriptive commentary for blind and partially-sighted fans in Arabic and English, mobility assistance services in the last mile and inside stadiums, and facilities to ensure the safety and comfort of all fans.
As a French fan said: “The tournament has proven the ability of Qataris to host any major tournament. What really surprised me was how large numbers of visitors could be accommodated in a small country without a sense of crowding or problems related to accommodation or food.” He was speaking for all the fans indeed.
The all-inclusive, compact and the most accessible World Cup ever
Whenever Qatar hosts a major international event, the legacy the country leaves behind is absolutely awesome. Greater heights and landmarks of excellence are recorded.