Qatar team learning from 'impeccable' Russia World Cup experience
July 08 2018 11:52 AM
Qatar 2022
People speak near an interactive installation, promoting the 2022 World Cup Qatar, in the Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure in Moscow on Friday.

dpa/Moscow

Qatar is reconsidering its 2022 World Cup fan concept after witnessing how Moscow has experienced the influx of tens of thousands of foreign supporters.
The location of a fan-fest planned in Doha will have to be changed after Qatari organisers observed crowd flows during the World Cup in the Russian capital, Nasser al-Khater, the 2022 deputy organisation chief, said.
"What we saw in Moscow, which has two stadiums, is that a city can be very quickly overwhelmed by big crowds," he said.
"So this is something that we need to take note of, and this is something that we need to consider going back to Qatar."
Qatari organisers have now realised their planned fan-fest site is in "the wrong spot" and "would get in the way actually of free-flow of people," al-Khater said in an interview round with international media in Moscow.
Four stadiums will host games in the Qatari capital. The fan-fest had been planned at Al Bidda Park near the central harbour promenade.
Qatar has had some 100 people in Russia monitoring the World Cup and they have been impressed by the "impeccable" organisation.
"They're going to give us a run for our money, it's going to be a high bar to beat," al- Khater said.
Although central Moscow has experienced a World Cup party atmosphere, the size of the city means "you could be in the neighbourhood of Moscow and not even realise there is a World Cup happening," al-Khater said.
Qatar in comparison will be "a city World Cup" and the World Cup is "going to be present everywhere".
"The nature of the size of Qatar and I believe the fact you're going to have the fans of 32 teams pretty much in a city, I think is going to be electrifying," he said.
It is unclear whether Qatar will replicate the fan ID system which operated in Russia. Al-Khater said he was initially sceptical about it and pointed out that the fan ID was used by the Russians as a visa whereas Qatar has a 90-country visa-on-arrival policy.
"We're looking into it, we think it worked well," he said.
"Obviously, it's a platform used by different police enforcement agencies around the world. Interpol, the Premier League, Scotland Yard all have databases of people who you don't want at football games.
"Historically they've been violent or created a lot of problems, so from that sense, we are looking into the fan ID, to see if it's a way of making sure that we know who's entering Qatar. Have we taken a decision on it now? No, not yet."
Although there have been some calls to bring forward the planned expansion of the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams, as will happen in 2026, al-Khater said Qatar was planning for a 32-team tournament. The Qatar tournament is planned for November and December rather than the traditional European summer months.
"We don't know what the format is like yet, so I can't really tell you would Qatar be able to cope (with 48 teams)," he said.
He added: "If we look at the World Cup here in Russia, I'm wondering where are the European fans? All the fans here are from South America.
"Peru-France game, 35,000-capacity - 29,000 from Peru, 2,900 from France and the rest were Russian.
"I don't know where the European fans are, I don't know if it's going to be the same when Qatar comes along."

Last updated: July 09 2018 12:29 AM


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