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Khalifa StadiumBy some estimates, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is going to cost the tiny Gulf nation approximately US $220 billion. This is about 60 times the $3.5 billion that South Africa spent on the 2010 edition. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil roughly cost $11.63 billion.

There’s a lot at stake, which is continually pushing Qatar to add more and more muscle to its security measures. The eruption of opposition to Qatar hosting this great event ever since it won the bid in December, 2010, is also a concern, prompting the country to form alliances to ensure safe passage of the tournament.

Since this would be the first-of-its-kind experience for Qatar, it has formed association with various security agencies to derive the necessary knowledge and expertise, such as the International Police Organisation (Interpol) and the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS). The aim of these associations is to understand the security and safety implications, as well as sharing the record of possible threats so that proactive measures can be installed to tackle them.

The latest alliance is with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The Emir of Qatar, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, and the Secretary-General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, on Wednesday signed the agreement on military and security cooperation and also discussed various challenges facing the region and the world as a whole, along with the promotion of international peace and security. This will play a major role in achieving Qatar’s objective of ensuring regional peace and security, which is critical to the success of the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Qatar’s objective of beefing up security also has a historical context to it, with the threat of terror being almost as critical as the actual attacks themselves.

Blasts from the past

Munich Attack-1972

The Olympics experienced its darkest day during the 1972 Munich Games. The Palestinian militant group, Black September, took the Israeli national team hostage, in the end butchering eleven athletes and coaches, along with a German police officer after a 16-hour clash.

The beautiful game turned ugly in 2002 when Basque separatist group, E.T.A., detonated a car bomb close to Madrid’s main stadium, the Bernabau, hours before the start of Real Madrid’s Champions League semi-final against arch rivals Barcelona.

Ahead of the Beijing Games, China deployed a considerable security presence, claiming it had thwarted a terrorist hijacking plot. It warned it faced further threats in its Muslim-majority northwest. Five days prior to the lighting up of the flames, there was an attack by Muslim separatists in the city of Kashgar in China’s far western Xinjiang region, which left 16 policemen dead and an equal number severely injured.

In late 2015, Paris was hit by a series of attacks. It all started outside the national football stadium in Saint Denis and ended with the infamous standoff at the Bataclan Theatre. In

December 2016, a football stadium in Istanbul was witness to a horrific car explosion. And in April, 2017, the team bus of Borussia Dortmund faced a series of controlled explosions just as it left the team hotel, injuring one player…

 

Seminar for FIFA Referee Technical & Fitness Instructors that kick started on Monday, will oversee the participation of hundred technical instructors in Doha. The seminar, which is a five day event will conclude this Friday.

The objective of the five day event is to provide a platform for technical instructors around the globe to take part in theoretical and practical sessions to improve their knowledge. It will also prove to be an important event, wherein, the participants will be able to share ideas, experience and expertise in the domain to reach a standardised interpretation and application of the Laws of the Game.

The seminar is aimed at updating the participants with the latest teaching material fitness data and results, for enhancing their knowledge on fitness and technical training and referees’ evaluation.

The opening ceremony at QFA was attended by Pierluigi Collina, FIFA’s Chairman of the Referees’ Committee, Hani Ballan, Vice Chairman of FIFA Referees’ Committee, Massimo Busacca, Director of the FIFA Refereeing Department, and Neji Jouini, Executive Director of the Referees Committee.

Pierluigi Collina, FIFA’s Chairman of the Referees’ Committee, while addressing the participants at the event, stressed on the importance of working towards the creation and upgradation of future referees by setting an example for the new generation of referees. Further, the aim of the event as communicated was to help new referees develop their skills and take part in advanced workshops through the instructors.

The FIFA oriented seminar is one of the four seminars held in Qatar over the last few weeks, including the forum for the referees and video assistants who will feature in the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia this summer.

The training sessions are being made in the direction of upcoming Russia World Cup and for Women’s World Cup in France. The event is designed to understand the issues a referee face on the pitch in, which the technical instructors are to take up their roles for the referee development for future sport events.

 

The strong face-off between English and Qatar Football Association takes a friendly turn.

Chief of English Football Association, Greg Clarke  signed “Knowledge sharing” memorandum of understanding with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the body responsible for the 2022 tournament, and the Qatar Football Association (QFA).

The differences between English and Qatar Football were a result of various controversies that surrounded Qatar then, ranging from violation of rights of migrant workers to voting issues for hosting FIFA 2022.

Greg Dyke, then English FA, chief described Qatar being awarded the hosting rights of World Cup as “the worst moment in FIFA’s history”. Qatar was criticised for ignoring labour rights for building FIFA stadium and was considered to be “the best of the bad options” for winning the bid.

After the investigation cleared Qatar for any wrongdoing to win the bid for hosting FIFA 2022 there has been a slight change in the sentiment. Further Qatar’s commitment to International Labour Organisation (ILO) to bring in labour reforms including freedom of workers to change jobs, minimum wages without discrimination and healthy working conditions, can be considered as the major turning point towards the change of heart.

The association is focussed around sharing of ideas experiences and expertise including grassroots football, youth development, women’s football, management and administration with the aim to promote and improve football.

British Ambassador to Qatar, Ajay Sharma, who said: “This will mark the beginning of even deeper cooperation between our two countries, and underlines the UK’s support for Qatar in delivering a successful World Cup 2022.” The association is though a friendly move but is not free from raising important questions regarding human rights.

Qatar has taken a series of steps in the direction already and has shown commitment towards achieving the reforms in spirit. Though it is still under scrutiny from Amnesty International, Human rights groups and various other organisations for successful implementation of committed labour reforms.

However this development is bound to raise both motivation of Qatar to host FIFA 2022 to best of its capabilities without compromising the rights of workers.