World Cup in Qatar, an opportunity to find affinities between cultures

A lively exercise in sports diplomacy involves yielding and adapting to customs and public expressions to understand the logic of the other. Issues such as migration and homophobia are transferred to the fields.

World Cup in Qatar, an opportunity to find affinities between cultures
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Stadium. Photo: FIFA

At least 50 thousand Mexicans will attend the Qatar 2022 World Cup; they should avoid drinking alcohol in the stadium, wearing tight clothes, necklines, and shorts, and respect Arab women and men and their clothing, warned the cultural attaché of the Mexican Embassy in that country, Paulino Rafael Robles-Gil Cozzi. It is important to understand how the body is conceived in that nation and to understand that this type of clothing can only be worn inside hotels and specific places for tourists; in addition to not trying to take pictures of them and to refrain from disorderly conduct, he warned.

The Mexican Embassy in that country will function as a node of sports diplomacy, and next November (one year before the sports event) will issue a series of indications for those who will attend the event on social networks, he said. The diplomatic headquarters, he clarified, will also be an informer and protector of Qatar's rules, but will not intervene and will only advise if the law is broken. Robles-Gil Cozzi pointed out that sports diplomacy seeks to link peoples, not to accentuate differences but to highlight similarities, such as the love for family, the taste for sports and gastronomy, as well as the pride of having an ancestral culture. Created at the beginning of the 20th century due to the link between politics and sports, it is used in modern times to settle conflicts and differences between peoples, he recalled.

"Historically, what has happened in sporting events such as the Olympic Games or a world soccer championship, or as they were organized in ancient times, is that a series of legal obstacles, borders, and travel requirements are raised. There is a kind of regime of exception that allows a coexistence, a lifting of barriers so that cultures, different civilizations can coexist in the same space and with the same purpose", said the diplomat. Robles-Gil participated in the distance conversation "Mexico-Qatar Sports Diplomacy", organized by the University Program for Asian and African Studies (PUEAA) of the UNAM, which was moderated by the coordinator of this instance, Alicia Girón González.

He further explained that the sporting event is a brief, consensual period of celebration, where a conglomerate of diversities assumes common rules for a time. There are excellent diplomatic relations between both nations, but there is a need to unite cultures and fight against negative stereotypes that prevail, for example in Mexico about Arab culture, and in Qatar about issues such as Mexican drug trafficking, he added.

For his part, José Luis Gázquez Iglesias, professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences and member of the PUEAA, said: in the world, there is a politicization of the game and the politicization of society, where conflicts such as migration are transferred to the fields, the teams and the fights between fans, as happens in France, where more than 80 percent of the players are of migrant origin. "The French assimilation model depends on results in tournaments. If they become champions, they celebrate, but if they lose, racist rhetoric arises among the public, often linked to extreme right-wing political parties," he said.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Mexico's road to the Qatar 2022 World Cup

FIFA and CONCACAF confirmed on Monday the complete schedule that the Mexican National Team will have to face in the final octagonal to get a ticket to the Qatar 2022 World Cup. There will be a total of 14 qualifying matches that each team will have to play during the FIFA dates of September, October, and November of this year, as well as January and March of 2022.

The Tricolor will begin its road to Qatar with 3 games in September. First, on September 2 against Jamaica at the Azteca Stadium, on September 5 against Costa Rica, and on September 8 against Panama at the Rommel Fernández Stadium. For October, Mexico will once again have a triple bill.

On the 7th at the Azteca Stadium against Canada, on the 10th again at home against Honduras, and finally, on the 13th against El Salvador at the Cuscatlán Stadium. To close the year, in November Mexico will have two difficult visiting games against the United States and Canada. In 2022, on January 27, the Tricolor will play away against Jamaica and will host Costa Rica and Panama consecutively.

Finally, the octagonal will come to an end during the FIFA Date in March when Mexico will host the United States on the 24th, then visit Honduras on the 27th and close the competition against El Salvador on March 30. The teams that finish in the first 3 places in the table will obtain their direct ticket to the Qatar World Cup, while the fourth-place will have to play a playoff next June 2022.

About the World Cup 2022

The XXII edition of the World Cup is called to be special, as it will take place between November 21 and December 18 for the first time in history, a change forced by the temperatures that can reach 50 º C in June and July in Qatar. Thus, the Christmas gift will arrive early and will show the world how technology will allow fans and athletes, through innovative and sustainable solutions, to live a World Cup as never seen before.

Within this innovation are mainly the eight stadiums built mostly from scratch, mega infrastructure works that will transmit the culture of a country that floats in the waters of the Persian Gulf. It is the first world cup in a Middle Eastern country. Doha's Khalifa International Stadium became the first air-conditioned stadium and the first to be ready for the event, first opened in 1976 for the Gulf Cup but redesigned and reopened on 17 May. Since then, Khalifa has become an icon of the city of Doha, which already hosted the recent IAAF World Athletics Championships in September and October 2019.

In Qatar 2022, the world will see Ras Abu Aboud, the world's first and only stadium capable of being dismantled for transport and used for other sporting events. Worthy of a layman's game. This stadium will be built with transport containers, removable seats, and building blocks that will be an example of environmental sustainability and reduced production costs.

The third, Al Thumama, will be located in front of the waters of the gulf and will represent on its façade the ghafiya, clothing used by men throughout the Arab world. This stadium will donate after the World Cup, 20 thousand of its seats to countries with deficiencies in their sports infrastructure.

The Education City Stadium, built around universities and innovation centers, will be home to the third-place match and the final. With the possibility of accessing the stadium by subway or subway, it will be inaugurated this December 18 with the 2019 Club World Cup.

This will be the third time that the World Cup will be held in Asia after the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan and Russia 2018 (although the latter had only one venue on Asian soil).

Al Bayt Stadium, with a capacity for 60,000 people in the city of Al Khor, will host the semi-finals and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. It has a typical tent design used by the nomadic peoples of Qatar and in addition to being portable, the upper-level seats will also be donated. With the same name as the city, Al Rayyan Stadium will be the new home of the Al Rayyan Sports Club.

This stadium will be a work of sustainability and responsibility for the environment, as it is being built with sustainable materials and its façade will represent the dunes of the Qatari desert. The opening match will take place in the Lusail Stadium. One of the largest in the world will be a community center at the end of the tournament and its construction is progressing in giant steps within a pioneering city in the planning of transportation systems and green spaces.

Finally, Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah was inaugurated on 16 May in the final of the 2019 Emir's Cup and will be an example of infrastructure, as its area will consist of restaurants, schools, markets, gyms, cycle paths, and even a wedding hall. The Al Janoub grass broke the world record when it was installed in a time of nine hours and fifteen minutes. A special World Cup deserves special planning, which is why all stadiums are expected to be ready by December 2020, along with 64 training grounds for the teams, which have the progress of more than 80%.

Multimillion-dollar budget

Qatar 2022 will transform Doha and its surroundings to offer fans an unforgettable experience, so 79 kilometers of public transportation lines will be created, with trains connected to some stadiums and more than 30 new stops added to the metro system and railroad. The budget managed for the development of the World Cup is six billion dollars, according to Hassan Al Thawadi, during the last St. Petersburg Economic Forum for the agency Sputnik. The organization of the World Cup will mean for Qatar a tourist, structural and urban growth, because the transport systems, stadiums, and training camps will be available for the next generations.

If in 2018 Qatar's gross domestic product grew by 1.5% compared to 2017, it can be assumed that this country will have a significant rise in GDP in 2023, taking into account the data obtained in the World Cup in Russia 2018, where the country had an economic impact of 15 billion dollars, about 1% of GDP. In Russia, 220 thousand jobs were created and meant an increase of almost 7 billion dollars, but beyond the money, at a cultural level, Qatar 2022 will be a Football World Cup that will educate the world in sustainability, development, and technology, surely like no other.

It will be the shortest World Cup since 1978, lasting only 28 days as opposed to the usual 32 days in recent tournaments.

The most benefited will not only be the Qatari, but also the football leagues, players, and entities that will be the protagonists of the biggest football party for the first time in an Arab country. To attend the event, the leagues and clubs, which feed the teams with 75% of the players, will be challenged to adapt to a schedule that will be modified but will bring multiple benefits with the FIFA Club Aid Scheme. As an example of this plan, after Russia 2018, 209 million dollars were paid to 416 football clubs in 63 federations, a remarkable increase of almost 200% compared to Brazil 2014.

The calendar has not yet been published, but with the World Cup starting and ending dates, the leagues will be able to plan alternatives to match the Qatari tournament. The championship will last about a month and with the rest time of the called is likely to be no local tournament until early January, but with the eighth round of the Champions League until February and nurtured squads, the solutions will come as a sandstorm.

Travel plan

Qatar is a country with more than 2.7 million people of which only 20% are Qatari, something that allows the Arab country to be a stage for sharing cultures and traditions around football. That being the case, getting one of the tickets to the matches is the main challenge for the millions of fans who will want to go to the World Cup.

In many cases, it is based on the luck of being one of the lucky ones whose applications were accepted by the organizing committee, in others the knowledge and experience to know the best time and way to make the application. For the millions of requests, in certain periods FIFA opens ticket application processes through its website. The first so-called 'VISA Early Selling Phase' took place between 22 and 31 October 2019 for customers of VISA cards, the official sponsor of the World Cup.

The second, called 'Sale by Order of Application', began on 14 November and will end on 21 December, a process in which everyone can participate with any card as a means of payment. From then on, the suspense and the expectation of being one of the winners of the draw of applicants begins. Subsequently, those who are accepted will receive their tickets electronically and these must be printed before going to the stadiums.

According to FIFA, the tickets are divided into categories and phases of the World Cup, which establishes the price of the tickets. In Russia 2018, a Category 1 match in the Round of 16 costs around $240, while the final cost $1,100. If the budget doesn't fit, fans can consider volunteering. By Qatar 2022, some 265,000 people have signed up for the program, of which 12,000 signed up in just four hours.

With tickets waiting to be accepted, fans can plan and save for travel, lodging, food, and transportation. For this, many travel agencies make tourist packages that include plane tickets, hotels, tours, and transportation to the stadiums, however, do not have the power to offer in their packages tickets to the games. The decision to travel can be separated from a travel agency, and if the fan wants to do it on his own the trip can reach the thousand 100 dollars, including both trips and with the purchase of a year in advance.

Football fans will be able to watch up to two matches a day because the local metro is the fastest in the world and they can be at the farthest stadium in up to 45 minutes.

The challenge for lodging will be to find the perfect rate adapted to the comforts and needs, given that the prices of hotels on booking platforms could double or triple their normal price. Within the stadiums and communications plan, Qatar 2022 has been innovative and visionary in offering a unique experience to the fan, since none of the venues are more than 35 kilometers from the center of Doha and the longest distance between the stadiums will be 55 kilometers.

The most atypical World Cup will not only be marked by a strange date, but also by the customs that coexist within the country, some of them embodied in the official logo of the competition. According to FIFA, the image represents "striking elements of regional and local Arab culture" and its eight-shape figure represents the eight stadiums that will host the matches, while at the same time emulating the desert dunes, the symbol of infinity, and the silhouette of the coveted golden trophy.

For its culture, ancient music, renowned cuisine, and traditions, Qatar has been chosen to host the next World Cup, to share a little more of the Arab world in a country that has the third-largest natural gas reserve in the world and is number one in per capita GDP. Its stadiums will be the most attractive, with imposing infrastructures such as the towers that invade the city, constantly hit by sandstorms coming from dunes crossed by camels.

About Qatar

It is an Arab country with a Muslim majority, as well as the smallest territorial extension. Qatar is a small country in the Arabian Gulf. Religion is Muslim. Qatar is an absolute monarchy that has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. Qatar has the third-largest natural gas reserves in the world, making the small emirate the country with the highest per capita income on the planet and leading it to achieve the highest human development index in the entire Arab world.

People: Qatar
Language: Arabic
Currency: Riyal catarí
Qatar ended 2018 with a population of 2,781,677

The country is characterized by its proximity, ease of movement. It has incredible sea views, spectacular dunes, natural reserves with endemic species. Traditional sports such as camel racing, falconry, and extreme desert and water sports are practiced. Qatar has several important cities that historically stand out for their fishing and pearl collecting traditions. Main cities: Doha City, where you can still see traditional wooden boats in the sea, AL Wakrah City, Al Rayyan, Lusail, Al Jor among others. Its economy is recognized as high income by the World Bank and also ranks nineteenth as the most peaceful country globally.

The stadiums of Qatar, the "best in the world" for Malcolm Silva

Zenit St. Petersburg's Brazilian player Malcolm Silva expressed to the media his admiration for the level of the stadiums that will host the next World Cup in Qatar in 2022. "I think they are the best stadiums in the world," he said in a statement collected by AS after the concentration of his team in Spain. "I went to some sports facilities and the stadiums for the World Cup. They are perfect, I think they are the best in the world, as well as the Aspetar hospital, where many players from all countries have recovered," said AS after his team's training camp in Spain.

The player had the opportunity to visit the facilities during Zenit's stay in Qatar for a winter stage. "During the period I spent in the country I was convinced that Qatar is ready to host the 2022 World Cup", he added. About the capital of this Arab state, Doha, the former FC Barcelona footballer said that he thinks it is a "very beautiful" city. Zenit returned to Russia from Spain on Monday, while thanking on his Twitter account the good reception the team had in Iberian lands.