Three major issues that Qatar had to deal with after winning world cup bid
For the first time in the history of the competition, football fans would not have to travel long hours to enjoy matches, all the games are right at their doorsteps, as some could even walk to match venues.
The small land size of Qatar and of course Doha, their capital made this possible as the stadiums and other facilities are closer to each other with the farthest within a traveling time of maximum one hour, hence the tag “Compact World Cup”.
However, it has never been an easy journey for the gulf state since December 2, 2010, in Zurich, Switzerland, when FIFA chose Qatar to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup over the United States America (USA).
From the allegations of vote manipulation, to poor working conditions to timing, and threats of boycott by some European countries and concerns over the hot climate of Qatar, they have been met with the needed innovation and determination from the gulf state.
Typical of such threats were from some European cities announcing the boycott of the Qatari World Cup and it is obvious that such threats were nothing more than political.
There were protests from Lille, Strasbourg and Rodez all in France, followed by Marseille, Nancy, Bordeaux, Reims and… Paris. And to say that the PSG Foundation still has a contract with the town hall of the French capital.
In Denmark, equipment manufacturer, Hummel, did not go with the back of the spoon, with the new jerseys (all the details of which have been toned down as much as possible) that the Danish Dynamite would wear at the competition.
Interestingly, Qatar had survived all these threats and challenges and ready to host the rest of the world after splendid preparations and fingers are crossed now awaiting the great delivery.
To sum up their challenges, it would be noted that, the Qataris have faced what I can describe as THREE major challenges after they were declared successful hosts of the competition.
They were, Timing, Weather Conditions and Labour issues.
Timing; over the years the World Cup had been held between June and July, an obvious weather conditions that favour mostly the Europeans and seemed to have become the norm in the hosting of the competitions.
And again, the fact that most European leagues are scheduled to conclude around the same period to make way for the world cup.
However, the norm had to be changed this time around following the hot weather conditions of Qatar. Playing football in June and July would definitely not be possible.
With this FIFA in partnership with Qatar had to negotiate for the World Cup to be moved to November-December, which has a more favourable weather conditions.
The weather conditions during this period are conducive and favourable for football, but this did not come easy, as it faced major opposition especially from European countries.
For obvious reasons, they were reluctant to make changes to their football calendar, which would be in its epic during the later stages of the year.
Lo and behold, tempers were calm and a solution was found. The World Cup for the first time would be played between November and December, with European countries agreeing to put their respective leagues on hold for the competition.
It must be noted that, the World Cup is a global event, and can be played in any part of the globe, which of course comes with different climatic condition, therefore, it may never be in the same area all the time.
It is high time, all the 211 member countries of FIFA admit to the fact, the world cup is a global event and could be played in any part of the world as there are differences in global times.
On the tails of the change in the normal schedule of the world was the issue of the impact of the weather on players and spectators during the competition.
Again, this was well dealt with by the organisers of the competition with the introduction of the first ever air-condition stadiums in Qatar.
This may sound impossible, but the Qataris made it possible. They were up to tasks innovated the first ever air condition at the stadium.
The world cup stadiums have been fixed with air conditions, to give further cooling during matches.
These air-conditions are very powerful and made to adjust the weather conditions together with the heat generated by football, speakers and other electrical gadgets.
Once again, the Qataris proved their determination to host the rest of the world and indeed they have been ready since.
Above all the challenges was the human right issues that arose out of the report of workers dying on various sites in preparation for the competition.
There allegations were led by the Guardian, an English newspaper, which published reports that 6500 workers have died on various sites since preparations began for the world cup.
These reports were definitely manufactured, to derail the efforts of a small Emirate state with 11,571 km embarking on 156 billion euro on building seven stadiums and rehabilitate Khalifa International Stadium, an airport and even an island off Doha, the capital.
Fortunately, the International Labour Office (ILO) ddid not share figures from the Guardian.
With more reliable figures, it was noted that only 50 workers lost their lives and it was evident that they did not get into details of all the causes of such deaths.
In their incriminating article, they did not even consider it necessary to raise the solidarity fund set up by Qatar to “support, insure and care for workers; guarantee their rights and provide them with a healthy and safe working environment”.
Nevertheless, the Qatari government has taken major steps to reform labour issues in the country aimed at giving worker better working conditions as provided in article 5 of their Labour Act is responsible for “providing the necessary and sustainable financial resources for the support and insurance of workers”, “paying workers’ benefits, which are settled by labour dispute resolution committees, and then claiming these amounts from the employer”, “contributing to the provision and establishment of playgrounds, places of entertainment or accommodation for workers, in coordination with the competent authorities’.
Qatar has indeed proven beyond all reasonable doubt that, winning the hosting rights was no fluke and demonstrated their competence and ability to host the rest of the world.
By William Ezah