How the World Cup can match into tiny Qatar

(Video: The Washington Publish)


Qatar is the smallest nation ever to host the FIFA World Cup. It’s dwarfed by current hosts Russia and Brazil and by the 2026 host — your entire continent of North America.

The compact nature of the match is instantly obvious to guests arriving in Doha, with one venue, Stadium 974, seen from the airport highway, and a number of other different stadiums surfacing on a drive alongside the capital’s highways. The expertise of attending a match can really feel city and native, like a go to to Capital One Area in downtown D.C. or to Brooklyn’s Barclays Heart.

At instances, the matches have saddled elements of the capital, which already suffered from site visitors congestion, with a paralyzing snarl, as was the case Tuesday, when police struggled to ease congestion across the Training Metropolis Stadium after Tunisia and Denmark performed. On Wednesday night, Morocco’s supporters flooded one of many subway strains, however the temper was festive, regardless of the crush. In a single subway automobile, a gaggle of followers gathered round a person holding a cellphone and watching Japan upset Germany, 2-1.

It was no simple feat to squeeze one of many world’s greatest sporting occasions into one among its smallest nations. We sought to visualise simply how outstanding the duty was utilizing, what else? Soccer balls.

Qatar is the smallest nation to host a World Cup. This is the way it compares to different host nations. (Video: The Washington Publish)

Qatar is simply over 4,400 sq. miles — that’s roughly the dimensions of Connecticut. Russia, which hosted the World Cup in 2018, is greater than 6.3 million sq. miles — fifteen hundred instances the dimensions of Qatar. And Brazil, which hosted in 2014, is greater than 3.2 million sq. miles — 727 instances the dimensions of Qatar.

Even Switzerland, the smallest nation to host the match earlier than Qatar, is greater than 3 instances the dimensions of the current host.

These 1.2 million guests will enhance Qatar’s inhabitants of two.9 million by a couple of third. (Video: The Washington Publish)

Regardless of the cramped quarters, greater than 1 million individuals are anticipated to converge on the nation of two.9 million, growing the inhabitants by greater than one-third.

So the place do all of them keep? Some are staying in accommodations charging greater than $1,000 an evening. Others are staying in cruise ships docked close to Doha. And for individuals who can’t afford both of those choices, there are inexpensive flats obtainable in addition to advert hoc shelters the place lodging prices round $200 an evening.

Guests are additionally staying in neighboring gulf nations and commuting in for the video games. However as soon as in Qatar, touring between stadiums is simpler than in previous World Cup tournaments.

Model new

stadiums constructed

for the World Cup

Model new stadiums constructed for the World Cup

Model new stadiums constructed for the World Cup

Model new stadiums constructed for the World Cup

Distances between arenas at Russia’s World Cup spanned as much as 1,500 miles — a day-long journey by practice. In Qatar, the farthest one has to journey is lower than 40 miles from the middle of Doha. Al Bayt Stadium, a 40 minute drive north of the capital and designed like a desert tent, requires a visit to the tip of 1 metro line, and a 25-minute bus trip adopted by a 15 minute stroll.

The tight squeeze at this World Cup have led to some revolutionary options: Stadium 974, which seats 40,000 individuals, is constructed out of delivery containers, meant to be dismantled when the occasion in Qatar has ended and be despatched to different nations hoping to host their very own tournaments.

“This is certainly remarkable, to build a temporary stadium,” mentioned Danyel Reiche, a visiting affiliate professor of political science and worldwide relations at Georgetown College Qatar. Reiche is also co-author of the e book “Qatar and the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Politics, Controversy, Change.”

“Here the Qataris are addressing the issues more than others,” he mentioned.

Qatar constructed seven new stadiums to host the video games. Some pay tribute to its cultural hallmarks: Glistening white partitions evoke the nation’s previous as a pearl-diving hub; swooping curves signify the normal dhow sailboat.

However setting up the infrastructure for the video games got here with a excessive human toll.

Ninety-five p.c of the nation’s workforce is made up of migrants, in response to Human Rights Watch, most of them from South Asia and Africa working within the building or service industries for low wages. Qatar was the goal of worldwide condemnation as staff engaged in building main as much as the match toiled in brutal warmth for meager pay. Human rights teams say hundreds died or suffered life-changing accidents since preparations started 12 years in the past.

“It’s important to remember what migrant workers have been through to be able to deliver this, to allow us to enjoy these games,” mentioned Hiba Zayadin, a senior researcher within the Center East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch.

Kareem Fahim in Doha contributed to this report.

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