The First FIFA World Cup In The Arabian Gulf Region

BY IBRAHIM ADEFAJO

The fact that Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup as the first country in the Middle East to do so among the countries of the Arabian Gulf is no longer breaking news. Exports of hydrocarbons account for the majority of Qatar’s GDP. It is one of the leading oil producers and has one of the world’s natural gas reserves. Natural resources have greatly aided Qatar’s economic development and stability. From the bidding stage to the evaluation and approval of stadium requirements, accommodation, among other things, hosting a FIFA World Cup is a significant challenge. In the history of the FIFA World Cup, which began in 1930 and has been played on five different continents, there have been 21 host nations. The world’s largest and most renowned competition takes place once every four years. The event has a unique feeling of a lifetime full of memories thanks to the excitement, the commotion, the uniting of nations, and the spectators from all races and walks of life. Without a doubt, Qatar is a good location with a population of less than 3 million boasting of available resources and capacity to host a top-notch FIFA World Cup. Statista estimates that Qatar has spent over $220 billion, exceeding Brazil’s previous record of $15 billion, making this the most expensive World Cup ever.

Flowing from the above, the FIFA World Cup was originally scheduled to take place during the European off season in June. Consequently, the aforementioned would have led to a lot of queries. Undoubtedly, given the complete disruption of European league football, it was a difficult decision for FIFA and other parties. The reason for this is not unconnected to the average high temperature of 108F in the summer which poses health risk for the game especially for players and supporters. Truly, the Winter World Cup in Qatar in 2022 will create a number of firsts in the long history of the event which will live long in the minds of men.

What will the weather be like in Qatar given that temperatures are predicted to be a major factor during the tournament? The decision by FIFA to transfer the tournament from June/July to November/December was made because of the sweltering temperatures in Qatar during the summer months. The average temperature in November/ December are 26 -20 degrees celsius. Interestingly, to keep players and spectators cool during games, the organisers ingeniously installed air conditioning system in all the appropriate venues to be utilized for the tournament. To accommodate for the sun’s passage over Qatar and to maximise the amount of shade on the field and in the stands, the stadiums were deliberately positioned on their East-West axes. The stadiums are constructed so that heat cannot enter them at all. Their exterior fa├žade surfaces and designs have been created to reflect heat and deflect warmer winds. The stadiums have retractable roofs for the most part. These greatly increase cooling efficiency when closed, there less water and energy will be used for the air conditioning system as a result.

Without doubt, the World Cup provides the host country with attention, pride, and prestige on a global scale, as well as long-term economic benefits that foster business growth and employment rate. It has been contested whether the costs borne by the host country genuinely balance the gains in economic prosperity. It has been argued that FIFA receives a significant portion of the World Cup’s income, including through telecast rights and ticket sales. The host nations pay a direct and significant price for stadiums. FIFA stipulates that the host nation must have at least 12 contemporary stadiums spread throughout several cities, while costing an enormous amount to maintain. Following the World Cup, the nation’s focus will probably shift from infrastructure improvement to tourism.

Tourism has been described as one of the major benefits of hosting the world cup with overwhelming contribution to economic development. The average number of visitors and spectators increased by 50 per cent after the World Cup demonstrating how the iconic influence is to a host the nation’s tourism industry. The non-sports infrastructure that develops around stadiums are increased in transit networks and new commercial districts which are intended to improve after the tournament. It was reported that Russia made additional $14 billion as a result of hosting the tournament in 2018. The World Cup had profound impact on the German economy during the 2006 FIFA World Cup with over 50,000 more jobs created and the GDP increased by 0.3 per cent. According to Nasser Al Khater, the chief executive of the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar is expected to draw 1.2 million tourists, compared to an earlier estimate of 1 million. There is a growing indication of economic growth by 3.4 percent after the World Cup after the tournament according to Forecasts.

Can the FIFA World Cup return to Africa? The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was an epoch-making history for the African continent. It was a well run and thrilling tournament was ultimately won by Spain in Johannesburg. The unforgettable recollections serve as a turning point in African greatness and accomplishment, of which the continent is still justly proud. Vuvuzela and the Waka Waka song by Shakira which has been viewed billion times are still bringing back indelible memories of the event for people all over the world. The South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup serves as a focal point for arguments in favor of holding another World Cup on African soil. Few years ago, Morocco launched a strong bid to host the second FIFA World Cup on the African soil. However, by a vote of 132 to 65, it lost the vote at the FIFA Congress in Russia. This is not a sign of doom for African countries. Rather, it presents an opportunity to make a strong bid in the future with all necessary facilities in place to satisfy FIFA regulations.

The North African region is still a potential host for the FIFA World Cup with Morocco and Egypt being two of the top contenders. There is no reason the renowned football competition cannot be conducted on the continent once more in the light of the success of the 2010 World Cup.

Africa is the ideal location to host the tournament in the future because of the love and enthusiasm that Africans provide to the world. It is stated that football has the power and ability to unite people from all walks of life, and this is never more evident than during the World Cup that bring all races and nationalities together for the love of the game. The World Cup will remain the most popular sporting events because it is the most watched sport in the world. Qatar is leaving a lasting impact by hosting the event. The long-term vision of sustainable development is on track in accordance with Qatar’s sustainability strategy for the FIFA World Cup 2022 through infrastructure, education, human, economic, as well as football for development and support for regional innovation.

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