Fifa World Cup: Fans ‘blessed’ to witness Qatar’s hospitality; laud crowd management

Spectators also appreciated the host’s move to make public transport free of cost



Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

By Ehaab Qadeer

Published: Sat 10 Dec 2022, 6:51 AM

Last updated: Mon 12 Dec 2022, 3:52 PM

A crowd of thousands lined up post-match, dancing and cheering to the tunes of the winning team. This rare, yet incredible spectacle was the norm across Fifa World Cup matches in Qatar.

Taking the world by storm even before the sporting event began, the Fifa World Cup will allow winners to take home not just the the trophy of the biggest football tournament, but a lifetime of bragging rights.

With people pouring in from across the globe, the country was up for a challenge when it came to accommodating them all. Changing the perspective of most visitors on the Arab world, Qatar impressed most fans by ensuring last-mile connectivity and punctuality of public transport.

Khaleej Times spoke to several fans across stadiums in Qatar, who gave their two-cents on the country hosting this year's Fifa World Cup.

Andrukiu, a Brazilian, said that he has attended three World Cups before this and lauds the Qatari hospitality and crowd management. “Having a metro service that runs every minute after a match is commendable. The hosts manage to disperse a crowd of thousands with ease,” the Brazilian said. He added that in previous World Cup experiences, reaching home after a match was not an easy task.

Aside from the punctuality of public transport, many visitors also appreciated the country for making it free of cost.

Andrea, who hails from the United States of America, says that travelling within a country is usually quite expensive, which was not the case this time. Having attended Fifa World Cup 2018 in Russia, she said, “Travelling between cities in a country like Russia can burn a hole in your pocket. However, this time, that wasn’t the case as using free public transport in Qatar has helped me save a lot of money.”

This being the first ever World Cup to be held in Arab country, this edition of the tournament is quite significant for football fans for another reason. The major sporting event is set to go down in history this year, as an entire generation of football legends are set to play their last tournament, with supporters of iconic players rushing in to witness the game.

Managing crowds is no easy feat, many visitors said, appreciating the unique crowd management techniques the hosts employed. Despite having a crowd of thousands, organisers ensured that spectators had a blast until the very end by arranging smaller entertainment arenas at the exit of a stadium.

Diogo, a fan from Portugal said, “One thing that caught our attention was the queues here aren’t boring at all. The organisers kept us engaged even while we were standing and when they were dispersing crowds after the match.“

Tourists that never visited the Arab world before expressed that their perception towards the region has changed.

Jefferson, from Puerto Rico, told Khaleej Times that his first visit to the Arab world was an eye-opener. “I’m blessed to witness the hospitality that Qatar has provided.”

People didn’t seem to miss alcohol much given the entertainment arenas that had been unfurled crossed the country - Arcadia in Al Wakra, Boulevard in Lusail or Fan Festival in Al Bidda.

Proximity between stadiums along with last-mile connectivity has been a lifesaver for fans who could successfully watch two matches on the same day. Seemingly omnipresent volunteers also made headlines with their beguiling chants to convey the metro directions for the pedestrians.

As the World Cup reaches the quarter-final stage, it is safe to say that most visitors believe that the hosts have created a paradigm shift in the sporting world.

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