On-pitch thrills help Qatar confound World Cup doubters

Spread the love


When the final whistle blew to confirm Saudi Arabia’s shock win over Argentina on day three of the World Cup in Qatar, the organizers of the most closely watched sporting mega-event in history got what they hoped for: New talking point.

The tournament’s 12-year run has been dominated by allegations of corruption, working conditions for migrant workers, LGBT+ rights, alcohol policy and the logic of hosting the world’s biggest sporting event in a tiny desert kingdom.

When the competition started almost a month ago, the focus was on the focus Rainbow wristbands, Unfinished shelterDisappearing digital tickets and a Last minute hurdle Selling beer in arenas. Many of those who came to Qatar came with low expectations.

Soon, however, action began to take place on the pitch. The fans settled in, with more surprises and moments of brilliance following Saudi Arabia’s victory. Rhythm of Doha And this Cosmopolitan bustle It came from playing the World Cup in the same city.

“I was very nervous before the opening game, sick of feeling that anything – no matter how small – would be jumped on by the media,” said Abdullah Al-Darwish, a Qatari who works in the financial sector. “But after kicking I calmed down.”

The tournament has provided memorable storylines from Morocco First team From Africa to the semi-finals Cristiano Ronaldo First player to score in fifth World Cup.

Sunday’s final promises a grand finale pitting the game’s biggest stars against Argentina’s Lionel Messi and France’s Kylian Mbappe. The two are also club mates at Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain.

Qatari organizers are happy with how the World Cup is unfolding. Doha’s transport systems, including a 37-station metro and 4,000 buses, were able to cope with the huge influx of visitors. More than 3.2 million people attended the matches in Qatar 2022, with the games largely uneventful in terms of fan safety.

“Qatar feels they’ve pulled it off,” said an adviser to the government in Doha. “They’ve proved the doubters wrong and brought credit to the region. It was great for ‘Brand Qatar’.

The competition not only showcased Qatar, but also fast-tracked the country’s infrastructure push as part of a broader plan to diversify its economy away from the hydrocarbons that fuel its vast wealth.

You are viewing a snapshot of the interactive graphic. This is most likely due to being offline or having JavaScript disabled in your browser.

Karen Young, a senior research scholar at Columbia University, said the $200bn spent on hosting the tournament had brought “valuable branding and name recognition to the Qataris”. “They did it alone in a small country without regional help. It’s remarkable,” he said.

Gianni Infantino, the president of world soccer’s governing body FIFA, on Friday called the tournament “the best ever,” saying it had helped bridge the cultural divide between the Middle East and the rest of the world.

“For me, the World Cup has been a truly incredible success on all fronts,” he told a press conference ahead of the final.

Commercially, the tournament is hosted by FIFA and its 211 members. Revenue for the current four-year cycle reached $7.5bn, up from $6.4bn in the same period before the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

That rapid growth looks set to continue. Infantino gave preliminary projections of $11bn for 2026, when tournaments will be held in the US, Mexico and Canada.

Some football legends and long-time World Cup contenders have been glowing in their reviews of their time in Qatar. David Dean, former vice-chairman of Arsenal Football Club, said it was a “very successful competition”.

“The Qataris are to their credit for the way they’ve handled it,” he told reporters over breakfast at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. “They’ve done a good job.”

The event was not without complications. Some Iranian fans were harassed during a game against the Tehran regime, Moroccan fans faced heavy police outside their quarter-final match, while supporters who tried to wear LGBT+ rainbow clothing were banned from entering stadiums. FIFA

A corruption scandal in the European Parliament, in which four people have been charged with trying to buy Qatari influence, suggests the controversy could roil the country long after Sunday’s final whistle. Doha described its claims of involvement as “baseless”.

Questions are over legacy It is likely to last. Qatar hosted seven matches in eight venues, including the 90,000-capacity Lusail Stadium.

Because local demand for such infrastructure is low, the details of what will happen to them after the competition remain unclear. Stadium 974Announced as the first temporary stadium to grace the World Cup, it is set to be sent to a new home, but its final destination has yet to be revealed.

Fan groups are protected in World Cup ratings. This was announced by Ronan Ewain, head of Football Supporters Europe SecurityTransport and accommodation, Qatar 2022 was “much better than expected”.

However, communication from the organizers was poor, while the high costs of accommodation and tickets meant that those without deep pockets would not have to do between matches in a city with limited venues, he said.

“I can see it being a good experience for fans who were staying in expensive hotels,” Evan said. “But for those traveling on a budget, it was long and boring in Qatar.”


Source link

Leave a Comment