With only eight years left until Qatar hosts the 2022 World Cup, the nation is keen to bolster support for the sport locally.
But the hot weather, traffic congestion and cultural concerns among women, among many other reasons, have been keeping some two-thirds of Qatar residents away from football games, a survey by a group of local organizations has found.
The poll, “The reasons behind the audience reluctance to attend football matches,” was carried out online last November, as a collaboration between the Ministry of Development Planning & Statistics (formerly called the Qatar Statistics Authority), the Qatar Football Association and the Sports Statistics Technical Committee.
Some 1,079 Qatar residents responded to the survey. The majority of answers came from male expats (some 46.6 percent), followed by Qatari men (24.5 percent), female expats (15.6 percent), and Qatari women (13.3 percent).
A snapshot of the results - released yesterday by the QSA – shows that 65 percent of Qataris and a similar percent of expats questioned hadn’t attended a football match in Qatar in the previous season.
The reasons for this are many, and include:
- Weather. Some 72.8 percent said the capricious weather (hot, humid and windy, dusty) discouraged them from attending matches;
- Scheduling. Some 67 percent of all respondents said they didn’t have enough time to attend matches, with 60 percent saying that scheduling matches during week days made it difficult for them to attend;
- Traffic congestion. Some 69 percent found the buildup of cars in and around the stadium difficult to navigate;
- Lack of engagement. Some 60 percent said that the absence of “local football stars” put them off, and 77 percent of young fans (aged under 24) said they felt clubs needed to try harder to create better relationships with fans;
- Players’ skill level. Some 50 percent of respondents pointed to a lack of technical ability in local teams;
- “Paid fans.” About 69 percent said the presence of people paid to attend football matches made them reluctant to turn out;
- Other options. Some 65 percent said TV coverage of matches meant they didn’t feel the need to attend the matches in person;
- Cultural reasons. Just under half of the women surveyed (45 percent) stated that they felt football stadiums were not adapted for their needs, with some citing cultural concerns about showing themselves in public as the reason for their non-attendance.
The results are being referred to the Technical Committee of Sports Statistics for further examination.
Do you attend football matches here? Thoughts?