Qatar rushes to prepare everything for the World Cup

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On December 2, 2010, Qatar surprised the world. Against all odds, one of Asia’s smallest nations beat Japan, South Korea and Australia to win the right to host the World Cup, 12 years later, and now in 2022. As selection ceremonies took place in the streets of Doha, the country’s capital, the leaders of the wealthy monarchy promised a compact and luxurious World Cup. . Qatar makes billions of dollars exploring for natural gas reserves and has billionaire investments, with stakes in companies such as Germany’s Volkswagen, Anglo Dutch Shell, Britain’s Barclays and France’s PSG.

It will have 12 stadiums, spread over a distance of 60 kilometers. They would be so close together that, in theory, it would allow fans to watch up to three matches on the same day, in luxurious and comfortable arenas, without having to contend with long flights and hotel changes. “The World Cup is unprecedented in the Middle East and the Arab world has been waiting for this opportunity for a long time,” then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter said after a vote by his executive committee at the entity’s headquarters in Switzerland.

But, despite the promised extravagance, the organization of the World Cup is still racing against time to get everything ready. Estadão was in Doha and found out what Qatar was like four months before the conflict. There is a lot to do and problems to solve, such as hosting 1.5 million visitors during games.

“We had to adapt to a lot of hurdles, but everything will be ready in time for a big event,” Hassan Al Thawadi, CEO of the Qatar Cup Legacy Committee, said during an interview after the world draw. Cup groups. The first challenge was obvious: how to get the logistics running to accommodate the month-long crowd, without turning country life into chaos or leaving a handful of “white elephants” in the city.

The first setback that had to be overcome was the high temperatures, which approached 50°C in June and July, the traditional months of the event, despite the fact that the stadiums are equipped with air conditioning, keeping the temperature around 20°C. The solution reached was to move the cup matches to November and December, with milder temperatures (30°C max).

In 2014, World Cup planning already underwent another change: The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, a body linked to local government that coordinates all World Cup activities, decided that the 64 Games would be held in eight arenas, not 12 more. Currently, the stadiums are either ready or in the final stage. Only Lusail, a giant sculpture of 30,000 tons of concrete, 310 meters in diameter, shaped like a basket of dates has just opened, where the grand final will take place. But it has been completed since 2021.

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If the stadiums are awaiting minor renovations to their surroundings, progress has been made on other construction sites. Driven by an estimated budget of $229 billion, it has improved the entire local infrastructure well. The road network, which was already good, gained wider roads, such as the one now connecting Doha to Al Khor, with seven lanes in each direction. Old urban bus fleets are being replaced by metro networks.

Subway expansion.

Since 2019, three metro lines have been delivered in the Doha area, creating a network of 78 kilometers of overlapping networks, where there was not a single station four years ago.

The trains have a capacity of 416 passengers, are automated and have a maximum speed of 100 km / h. There is a meter station from Qatar’s main airport, Hamad, and another close to five World Cup arenas: Lusail, Education City, Ahmed Bin Ali, Khalifa and 974. There will be a bus service during the cup, which will be connected to the metro stations. A 17-kilometer track has also been installed on two tram lines – one in Cidade da Ediocacao, an education center with eight campuses in the US, France and UK and local institutions, and the other in Lusail, a planned city, where the competition’s final stadium is located.

To reduce congestion in Doha, in addition to the access of the metro and tram network, the capacity of roads to further stadiums such as Al-Bayt, 60 km away, has been increased. “Based on the information collected by cameras and sensors, our Traffic Control Center will be able to act quickly to ease congestion, and control traffic lights and traffic flows,” says Eng. Adallah Al Qahtani, from Ashghal, the contractor responsible for traffic monitoring.

To welcome more than 1.5 million expected visitors (one million tickets have already been sold), Hamad Airport, the country’s main airport, has been modernized, and the capacity of its five terminals has been increased. About 2.8 million passengers will be able to travel through it. To help operate more flights, the demolition of the former Doha Airport has been put on hold. “It has undergone renovation work and will add a capacity of about 10 million passengers,” says Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, the main Qatar airline.

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There is still much to be done in Qatar. In Doha, the landscape is marked by cranes and the movement of workers. Entire neighborhoods are shaped by buildings designed by some of the world’s most famous architectural firms. There are a few weeks when a new postcard is not opened. A few weeks ago, Iconic 2022 was delivered, a set of four buildings shaped like the number 2022, when viewed from above or from the front. It is located a few meters from Khalifa Stadium and Al Azizia Metro Station. In Lusail, there is a new museum with oriental paintings and sculptures in the final stages of construction. Also in the final phase is the Qatar Automobile Museum building, near Katara, the country’s largest cultural center.

A traditional area known as Msheireb has been redesigned, with new buildings, solar panels and modern trams crisscrossing its streets. Other areas of the capital are also undergoing a complete transformation, such as West Bay and the Dubai Exhibition and Convention Center, where the Exhibition and Convention Center is located, and where the draw for the Cup was held.

“The 2022 World Cup is a catalyst for progress in Qatar,” said Al Thawadi, representative of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy at the World Cup.

In the area around Souq Waqif, a traditional neighborhood in downtown Doha, empty streets and potholes are rare. In 2019, when Flamengo participated in the Club World Cup, there were days in December, minutes after a storm, the streets flooded the streets. In June, one of Doha’s old symbols, Al-Ghanim Bus Station, was permanently closed. Now, those who want to get around the area use the subway lines, turquoise taxis from the Karwa co-op or apps, such as Uber or Careem, a local competitor.

Residence

Despite the progress, Doha still has problems. One of the most complex will be where it accommodates 1.5 million people (just over half the country’s population), and a crowd is expected to arrive in Qatar within 28 days of the conflict. There will be restrictions on entry for foreigners. Any unaccredited person who does not have a ticket and a reserved place to sleep will not be able to enter the country. To complicate matters, between November and December, a government decree banned all hotels from accepting individual reservations from guests, causing squeals on the part of those who already have them, as hotel prices skyrocket.

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Now officials, journalists and authorized ticket holders will have to visit the Qatar Residency Agency to find a place to stay. You also need to log into the Hayya digital platform and register your personal details, proof that you have tickets or credentials and a place to stay overnight during the competition. There are hotels, homes, apartments and nearly 4,000 cabins on the cruise ships that dock in the city’s port. And also about a thousand prefab tents and cabins, which will be installed on a camp site in the vicinity of the country’s capital.

“The official lodging platform for the Cup will provide options for fans who want to stay here during the games: hotels, apartments, homes, two giant cruise ships and a 5-star standard moored in Doha Port, as well as campgrounds. Omar Al Jaber, Executive Director of the Accommodation Department at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Government Legacy, told Estadão “. Four of these camps will be built on Qetaifan Island in Lusail, in an area close to the city’s largest shopping mall, Mall of Qatar. Next to the stadium is Ahmed Ben Ali Stadium, and two arenas where Brazil will play their three group stage matches: Lusail, against Serbia and Cameroon, and 974, against Switzerland.

There is also the possibility for fans to stay in other countries in the region and use Qatar’s airports and extended flights. Promise is an air shuttle during the competition with many companies. Flights will arrive 5 hours before departure, allowing fans to enjoy the city before heading back to base. That would be 160 flights per day for 200,000 people. “The Cup will be a good opportunity for football fans to discover a part of the world they do not know,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

Watching matches in the World Cup in Qatar will not be cheap. European Football Fans Club accounts estimate that this will be the most expensive trophy ever. Three group stage matches can cost up to 2,770 euros. Hotel rooms at $80 a night will be scarce. At Fan Village Cabins, prices start at $200 USD. According to the French, Ronan Evin, director of the association, the story continues with tickets, which sell for about 46% more expensive compared to prices in Russia.

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