A Test for Qatar’s 4C of 2022

Sorry to make you puzzled, but the title has a meaning for sure.

On 14-16 September 2010, FIFA inspection will visit Qatar – one of the bidders vying to host  FIFA World Cup 2022. The visit to Qatar will conclude a series of inspection tour to all bidders. The inspection team will see if the bidding country is really ready and evaluate its conditions of infrastructure, sites, facilities and other aspects.

Qatar promises a unique 4C of Word Cup 2022, and aiming to bring unity, understanding and a first-ever FIFA World Cup to the Middle East. The way I see, the inspection tour is a test for Qatar’s promotional ad (which is also the fundamental concepts of its bid) : central, compact, connected, and cool.

– Central: Qatar offers central locationowing to its strategic location in Middle East; accessible from Europe/America, Africa and (East) Asia, roughly equally distant.

– Compact: This is an answer for question: Is Qatar big enough?. As Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, the chairman of Qatar 2022, put it “What we are presenting in relative terms is a micro-organised, compact World Cup format”. Qatar is a small country jutted out of Arabian Peninsula measuring 160s km the longest for 11,437km2 area. Football fans will be benefited from Qatar’s compact size for accommodation (no need to change hotels), transportation (end-to-end is about one-two hour drive) and a chance to see more than one match a day.

– Connected: “Our World Cup stadia will be connected to a public metro network system,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “In terms of accessibility, every stadium is within an hour of each other. Fans can access several matches a day should they choose to.” Sheikh Mohammed predicted that between 70 and 80 per cent of all World Cup fans, or 35,000 passengers every three hours, could be accommodated on the metro, which is due to be completed in 2021. Qatar will also be connected to Bahrain through a 45-km causeway.

– Cool:  A Qatari tournament in the summer of 2022, having been derided as too hot for an outdoor June-July grand show.  During the month of June/July, temperature can rise up to 45 C. The solution: “Weather will no longer inhibit any nation from hosting a World Cup,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “Our cooling system is a world-first and it is carbon-neutral. We are implementing zero carbon cooling technologies in all of our stadia.” The complex system of solar panels and water temperature converters that will yield optimum playing surface conditions of 27-28°C will be built. However it is not only about the matches but also life after football – fans gathering, party, and any related activities.

To me, “cool” is the hardest part.

Now comes the other “C” – Culture. Although Qatar has comparatively liberal laws, but is still not as liberal as some other Arab states of the Persian Gulf like UAE or Bahrain. The question is coming from – again- life after footballs, in respect to alcoholic drinks, as it is not widely available (buying alcohol requires a permit). Qatar Law states that drunken behaviour in public or driving under the influence of alcohol is an offence punished by imprisonment, a fine or both . There is a rumour that Qatar will loosen its law only during the world cup to accommodate this concern. But, isn’t it beautiful for football without alcohol? 🙂 Nevertheless, it’ll be a very hot summer!

Good luck Qatar! I can only support you (including attaching a support sticker on my car 🙂 ).