Dubai residents hail beautiful, well-organised Qatar World Cup

The country spent about $220 billion dollars building over 7 stadiums and the other necessary infrastructure


Nasreen Abdulla

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Fans are seen on the Doha Metro ahead of a World Cup match. — Reuters
Fans are seen on the Doha Metro ahead of a World Cup match. — Reuters

Published: Mon 19 Dec 2022, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 19 Dec 2022, 9:05 PM

As the Qatar World Cup drew to a thrilling end with Argentina winning the title, several UAE residents who travelled to Qatar to watch the matches praised the country for its organisation of the tournament.

Paul Winick, who watched four matches in Qatar, said he was impressed with how well-organised and peaceful the event was. “This is probably the first World Cup where an English fan has not been arrested,” he said. “But jokes apart, I felt like everything was very well-organised and smooth. I stayed at the fan village and travelled around the city quite a lot. I felt like they really paid attention to detail.”

Paul with his friends inside the stadium in Qatar. — Supplied photo
Paul with his friends inside the stadium in Qatar. — Supplied photo

He commended how fans were calm and composed inside the stadium. “It is probably because of the absence of alcohol that people were actually quite well-behaved. All the fans were seated together. I have heard that in previous games, fans were separated to reduce instances of hooliganism. However, it was not a problem here. I was impressed with the way Qatar handled the tournament overall.”

It was in 2010 that Qatar won the bid to host the Fifa World Cup. From then, the island country spent about $220 billion dollars building up over 7 stadiums and the other necessary infrastructure to create history as the first Arab country to host the mega event. Five-lane highways and metro lines were prepared to welcome the influx of tourists the event would bring with it.

Dubai resident Shabna Ibrahim travelled to Qatar along with her husband to attend one of the group stage matches. “Right from when we boarded the flight, the vibe was so electric,” she said. “Everyone was in the World Cup mood. Once we got there, we felt everyone was very friendly and approachable. There was no queuing time. Entries and exits were very well marked. Even inside the stadium, it was very peaceful, and we had a really good time.”

Shabna poses with her husband inside the stadium.
Shabna poses with her husband inside the stadium.

Shabna said she was impressed with how Qatar managed the entire tournament. “I know Argentina lifted the cup but in my eyes, Qatar is the true winner,” she said. “They truly embodied the hospitality of their culture. There were pamphlets and various other ways for visitors to learn about Islam and the Arab culture. Also, the azaans for every prayer was so beautiful. I felt like everyone who came to the country and watched the match truly took a piece of Qatar in their heart when they returned home.”


From basic tented campsites and fan villages to opulent luxurious villa stays, Qatar offered a wide variety of housing options to its visitors. Safety and security were of utmost concern to the country that built a control centre at Aspire Zone as the hub for controlling what happens inside every stadium during the World Cup. With over 2,000 security cameras, Qatar monitored crowds and managed problematic situations.

Fazlu-ur-Rahman attended the final match between Argentina and France in Qatar. “When I arrived there, the security personnel seemed to have been struggling to manage the crowds,” he said. “It is expected for arguably the biggest sporting event in the world. There were some people with valid tickets who were struggling to get in.”

According to the Indian expat, visitors were spoilt for choice where to watch the match. “It is like the entire country had transformed into a mega football event,” he said. “If you didn’t want to watch in the stadium, you could go to any fan zone. Not just fan zones, every other restaurant and café were streaming the match. It was a brilliant atmosphere. One that really needed to be experienced.”

Fazlu commended the Qatar government for pulling off such an event. “If you consider the scale and magnitude of the event, it is scary,” he said. “For a small country like Qatar to pull this off is really a feather in the cap not just for the country but the entire region. I feel like the world was waiting for Qatar to make one mistake, to slip up but instead they turned around and executed an event that was so beautiful and wholesome.”

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