Sun, desert and sea come together in Doha to welcome the football aficionados of the world with the slogan of universal brotherhood that is so intrinsic to the sport.
With little over two months left until the start of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the overwhelming messages of “Now Is All” and “One World One Home” embraces the visitor looking to familiarize themselves with the sights and sounds of the destination that will be hosting football’s biggest spectacle.
The FIFA World Cup has stimulated the creation of an ultra-modern infrastructure in Doha that can outshine any big city in the world in terms of sophistication.
Tall buildings that appear to have come from the concept of futuristic cities jostle for space with beautiful high-rises inspired by the conventional Arabic design, offering a beautiful montage of tradition and modernity.
And the facades of many of these constructions adorn giant pictures of popular footballers eclectically drawn from the nations participating in the upcoming event.
This is a great way to receive the fans who will be thronging the place to cheer for their favourite stars. In fact, all the eight stadiums featuring in the World Cup final stage fixtures are spread within a radius of 55kms making it easier for the fans to commute.
The Supreme Committee (SC), constituted by the political and administrative leadership of Qatar, stated that 2.5 million tickets have already been sold for the FIFA World Cup.
This means that there will be around 1.3 million fans in the country which has a population of 2.7 million. This is a tall ask for a small nation but the SC is confident that the infrastructure is ready to accommodate the fans.
“Accommodation will be ranging from $80 to $120 per day and we are also allowing many people to let out their own villas to the international fans. we want to make the world cup affordable to all,” said Nasser Al Khater, CEO of World Cup Qatar 2022.
The SC also clarified the fact that Qatar will be opening up to the needs and requirements of international fans, one of which is allowing them to enjoy their daily tipple.
“The sale of alcohol is available in Qatar and during the World Cup, we will make it available in different zones. There are some misconceptions regarding its availability around the stadium, we are working to make it usual like any other World Cup, he said.
For all the fans travelling from different countries, the Hayya Card will be the only permit for them to enter the state of Qatar.
“It is a multi-entry card and acts as a visa for the ticket holders. It will also allow the fans to book their accommodations. It will also allow the fans free access to the Metro and local transport,” said Yasir Al-Jamal, the director general of SC.
The fans can also access the official website www.qatar2022.qa for all information about the tournament.
The FIFA World Cup is an important milestone in Qatar’s endeavour to establish itself as one of the most important sporting venues in Asia and the World.
“Whatever we have created for the World Cup is part of developing the important infrastructure for sports. We are planning to host many more sports events in future which includes our bid to host the Asian Cup in 2023 and the Asian Games in 2030. We are also very hopeful about hosting the Olympics in future,” said Yasir Al-Jamal.
(The writer is in Qatar on an invitation by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy)