Qatar has a mountain to climb
5 months to go and problems persist
5 months out from the start of the World Cup, Qatar is a far cry from being ready for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. More and more participating teams and sponsors are questioning Qatar’s preparations. FIFA is said to be very worried about the current status, a lot more than at previous World Cups.
It has now sunk in that Qatar is a small country and will struggle with the masses. In addition, Qatar has never experienced a massive event of this nature.
Airport faces major challenges
Hamad International Airport (HIA) has come under the spotlight. After planning the World Cup for more than 10 years the authorities have now been asked to draw up new plans. HIA works perfectly as a transit airport, with relatively few people normally leaving the airport.
With tens of thousands of arrivals daily on Qatar Airways flights, there is simply not enough space in the arrival section. Sponsors are used to preferential treatment and are now worried their guests will be stuck in between the masses of fans.
Qatar recently launched a program for 160 additional daily flights from neighbouring countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman. Fans are to be based there and only fly in for match days. These flights will land at the “older” Doha International Airport.
HIA is said to have hired international specialists to amend and rectify the airport plans. At the end of July, they will have to come up with an alternative to be presented to sponsors and participating FA’s.
Tenders not awarded yet
Several World Cup-related tenders have not yet been awarded, including important government contracts. Suppliers are scratching their heads as to where to find the workforce at the last minute. Many companies are still waiting for key decisions – and they are all hoping to draw from the same workforce.
Roadworks still continue in many central areas including Souq Waqif and West Bay. As temperatures are reaching 45° Celsius during the day construction workers have to stop working by law to protect their health.
1.5m visitors expected
A large question mark remains over how 1.5m visitors to Qatar will get around the city of Doha. Will there be enough buses? Will the metro be able to handle all the fans going to the matches? How many Uber cars will be available?
Qatar has already announced that there will be no cars available for rental during the World Cup period.
Two major cruise ships will be docked together with other superyachts in the harbour. This means that 10.000 people will enter and leave the port area on a double-lane road. Busses and cars must then cross the lower Corniche area. The Fan mile with tens of thousands of fans starts right in front of it.
There will be several Fan Festivals across Doha, but how many there are, nobody can really say at this moment. A few days ago a document drawn up by the Supreme Committee was leaked to the public. It created quite a stir in the inner circle.
Five months out from the World Cup a lot more questions than answers remain about how Qatar will be able to cope with the masses descending on Doha.