18 Oct 2019 – 10:47
By Lani Rose R Dizon I The Peninsula
The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), which is overseeing the organisation of the upcoming Fifa World Cup 2022, is aiming to sell three million tickets to achieve its target of having full stadiums for every match during the world’s biggest sporting event, which expects to receive more than 1.5 million football fans from across the world.
“There’s three million tickets available for the entire tournament. And we’re trying to sell those and have full stadiums for every event. The last World Cup in Russia achieved close to 99 percent of ticket sales. So it is achievable. Qatar has a small local population, but there is a strong demand for football, especially this will be the first World Cup in the region,” said Tony Sharpe, Transport Planner at SC while talking to the media on the sidelines of PTV Group’s Mobility Day in Doha yesterday.
Sharpe added that during the past seven years, the SC has conducted nine major international surveys to gather data about the expectations of football fans for the 2022 World Cup. The Qatari team with its international partners, collected data during the past World Cups in Germany, South Africa, and Brazil, in addition to other surveys conducted in Qatar, the Mena region, and Euro 2016 event.
“This year, we did a worldwide survey where we got 17,000 people from around the world, over half of which were people who have gone to the previous World Cup events. Based on our findings, there’s a massive demand from the international market to come to the 2022 World Cup. There is also a strong interest in coming to Qatar and staying here for several days. They also want to see more games, and like the idea that two matches in one day is a possibility,” he added.
Work on the infrastructure and road construction projects for the World Cup is well underway and is expected to be completed before 2022, said Sharpe. He added that two stadiums, including the Khalifa International Stadium and Al Janoub Stadium have already been delivered. Later this year, Education City Stadium will be opening, while four others will open next year. The SC has earlier said that the Al Bayt Stadium will also be ready by December.
“I believe the stadium infrastructure will be there well in advanced. The road and airport infrastructure is progressing rapidly. The infrastructure I believe is where Qatar is strong. The biggest challenge we have is the operation of the workforce, which is training and bringing this enormous number of people to work on the World Cup so we can accommodate all those visitors. I think operationally, we have a lot to learn,” added Sharpe.
According to Dr Wissam Elhamra, Senior Engineer for Modelling of Transportation Planning at the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC), majority of the work on the multibillion dollar Expressway Programme, which is being implemented by the Public Works Authority (Ashgal) has been completed and will be ready before the World Cup. The project contains provisions for a total of 35 road schemes.
He said: “Our scope was to prepare the transportation planning study to assist in the design of the expressway programme. Majority of the network is ready, but some parts are still underconstruction, like the Landmark, Duhail interchange, and some other places. But the project will be completed before 2022”.
Andrea Petti, Managing Director, Middle East, India & Africa at PTV Group, added: “Over 1.8 million people travelled to the host city Moscow for the Fifa World Cup in 2018. As Qatar prepares to host in 2022 with new stadiums and facilities for visitors, it is imperative that there is the right infrastructure in place to manage these people. With hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend the megasporting event, Qatar has taken significant steps to ensure traffic management, crowd modeling, and pedestrian routes are being optimised. The country is using the latest technologies and software to give visitors a stress-free visit”.