It is also still unclear how the tournament – which is expected to attract more than a million visitors – will be secured. Qatar has signed police agreements with several countries, most notably Turkey, which in January said it would provide more than 3,000 security personnel, including riot police, for a tournament in which fans of the 32 competing countries – some of them bitter rivals – will rub shoulders for weeks. in an area smaller than the state of Connecticut.
Read more about the 2022 World Cup
- A last minute change: Just months before the tournament, FIFA is considering a request to start the event a day earlier, so that Qatar can be seen in the first match.
- Chile’s failed bid: The country’s football association had argued that Ecuador should be evicted from the tournament in favor of the Chilean team. Fifa disagreed.
- Golden sunset: This year’s World Cup will most likely be the last for stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo — a deep watershed for football.
- Senegalese pride: Aliou Cissé, one of the best football coaches in Africa, has given Senegal a new sense of patriotism. Next: the World Cup.
Unofficially, Qatari officials have said the imported security officers will not have direct contact with fans. But so far – and unlike previous World Cups – there are few details on that matter, and on several others, that are publicly available. Asked two days ago for clarification on questions on various World Cup topics, Qatari officials have not yet responded.
There are also accommodation concerns, with delays in releasing rooms to the public and fans reporting a lack of availability on a portal reserved for cardholders, who are expected to be the only foreigners to visit Qatar during the month-long World Cup. . (This guidance will also remain unclear as of this week.)
Those who have managed to find accommodations, which can only be booked after fans pay for tickets, have complained about high prices, even in the rare instances where they have found availability.
Ronan Evain, executive director of Football Supporters Europe, an umbrella organization of fan groups, said the number of official fan groups traveling to Qatar to support European teams is likely to be significantly lower than during the last World Cup, which was held in Russia. . The defending champion France, in one example, expects just 100 fans to attend as part of his official supporter group.
Other fan groups, Evain said, are considering flying in and out of Qatar for matches as they have concluded it would be cheaper and easier than staying in Qatar. The German fan club has already said it will commute to matches from Dubai. “I don’t think they realize how problematic their housing situation is,” Evain said. “The whole system of booking accommodation is so unclear that ticket holders are reluctant to book.”