What will tiny Qatar look like as host for world’s biggest sporting event?

Sobering zones for drunk fans, congested roads likely will be as big a part of the World Cup as the soccer

(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) (Nariman El-Mofty, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Ever since Qatar was awarded this year’s World Cup back in 2010, there have been questions surrounding that selection.

The most notable one has frequently been whether the country bribed FIFA in order to land the event, a question that’s been investigated by the United States Department of Justice and other organizations.

Qatar is a tiny nation that is smaller than Connecticut in square miles, so Qatar would be No. 49 on the list of largest states if it were a part of the U.S.

It’s by far the smallest country to ever host the World Cup, and even former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who was at the helm during the selection in 2010, admitted to the Associated Press last week that picking Qatar “was a bad choice.”

But with the World Cup finally here, all that seems irrelevant because the finish line has arrived and Qatar is ready to welcome the world.

With that in mind, there is another more appropriate question.

How equipped will Qatar be to stage the world’s biggest sporting event?

Here are four initiatives Qatar is taking to try and prove its worth as host.

Sobering zones

Qatar has restrictions on alcohol consumption and usually doesn’t tolerate public drunkenness.

Knowing that fans from other countries are going to want to booze it up while in the country, Qatar has come up with an alternative to simply arresting and jailing drunk fans.

Fans who are found disorderly because of alcohol consumption will be put into sobering zones or tents, where they will be held until they are determined to be sober and recovered from their state of drunkenness.

There will be alcohol sales outside of stadiums.

Softening of anti-LGBTQ laws

Same-sex partnerships can be punishable by law in Qatar, but World Cup chief Nasser Al Khater told Sky News in the United Kingdom that those in the gay community that attend will be welcome to display affection and fly rainbow flags.

Close stadiums

One advantage to hosting the World Cup in a small country is that all the stadiums will be in close proximity to one another.

All eight stadiums are within a 20-mile radius of Doha, the country’s capital, with the farthest stadium away being roughly 30 minutes north of the capital.

That could give fans the opportunity to see several games in one day.

That’s a far cry from past World Cups in large countries such as Brazil or the United States, where fan and players endured cross-country plane rides to get to host cities.

However, the stadiums have come under controversy over the last decade.

There have been reports and stories of the stadiums being built by migrant workers who endured slave wages, awful working and living conditions, and the loss of passports that left them stuck.

A report by The Guardian in the UK said that more than 6,000 workers died during construction of the stadiums.

In addition, seven of the stadiums were built solely for the World Cup, leaving questions as to how they’ll be used when the event is over.

Increased transportation

In order to combat the estimated 1.2 millions visitors expected to visit for the World Cup — Qatar’s population is roughly 3 million — the country is ramping up its available transportation to levels beyond belief.

There will be 110 trains used instead of 75, there is expected to be 3,100 buses in operation, more than quadruple the normal amount, 3,000 taxis and 11,500 Uber drivers.

That could lead to incredibly congested streets and roads, but it will be necessary to handle all the fans.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.