FIFA World Cup 2022: Qatar prepares for the influx of fans

Doha, Qatar –

A gleaming white World Cup stadium sits large at the end of a street in the quiet suburban neighborhood of Al Thumama.

Over the course of three weeks, tens of thousands of football fans will pass by villas, mosques and tidy shops along the route to the stadium due to hosting eight matches during the tournament.

On Tuesday, the quarter is gearing up for the opening match of the World Cup on November 20: crowd control barriers on sidewalks, portable toilets next to homes and increased home security.

“We have to be careful. We have to protect our house… the whole year we left the front door open. So for a month now, okay, we’ll close it,” resident Ahmed Al Kuwari said. speak.

Qataris, once living in one of the safest states in the world, are increasingly concerned about the potential for vandalism, theft and licentious behavior as some 1.2 million tourists land in the tiny populous nation. of these 3 million people.

“Curiosity can spark and maybe people will,” said Sara Al Ansari, a Qatari lecturer whose family and friends have security cameras installed. wander into the mansion…anything can happen.

Other changes that were evident in the capital, Doha, on Tuesday as temporary World Cup measures went into effect included changing traffic flows in and around the city.

A major road along the coast is closed and will remain closed until the tournament ends on December 18. Workers are turning it into a 6-kilometer (3.73-mile) fan area.

Traffic will be especially important during the group stage of the event when four matches will be played each day at stadiums around Doha. Organizers, in an unprecedented promise of the World Cup, say fans can join multiple matches on the same day.

In an effort to reduce cars on the road, the government has asked 80% of its employees to start working from home as of Tuesday. Schools will reduce school hours for the next two weeks before closing the entire tournament, frustrating working parents.

“The kids will just throw a party and it will drive us crazy,” said a parenting blogger based in Qatar.

“That will certainly be a challenge, especially for families with both parents working,” the blogger added, choosing to remain anonymous to avoid any trouble when broadcasting the stories publicly. pressing.

Reporting and writing by Andrew Mills, editing by Ed Osmond

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