Gulf Times

Qatar’s outstandin­g efforts to make 2022 World Cup most secure ever


Since winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar has started to mobilise its efforts, employ its experience­s and expertise, and strengthen its regional and internatio­nal co-operation to secure this global event, making it the safest and most secure World Cup edition.

Qatar has inspiring experience­s, wisdom and insight in hosting internatio­nal mega events and activities that require crowd management and achieving the maximum levels of safety and security for participan­ts and visitors from all around the world.

Qatar’s recent history includes a long list of organising hundreds of internatio­nal events, forums, and mega sports events.

One of the biggest sports tournament­s organised by Qatar was the 15th Asian Games (XV Asiad) which was described as “the games of a lifetime” given the exceptiona­l success in security and organisati­on.

The list goes on to include the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championsh­ips in Athletics, the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, the 2015 World Men’s Handball Championsh­ip, and more than 500 other regional and internatio­nal sports tournament­s organised over the past 15 years.

Qatar’s success in securing sporting events is not strange for a country that enjoys political, social, and economic stability as well as a high level of security as affirmed by global indicators that classify Qatar as one of the most secure countries in the world and ranks among the top in societal safety and security according to these indicators.

Talking in numbers, according to Global Peace Index (GPI), Qatar ranked first among the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), while it ranked 23rd globally among 163 countries included in the report on the level of security, advancing by six places over the previous year, as the safest and most secure state.

Qatar has maintained its high rank in several security indicators contained in the report, including criminalit­y in society, terrorist activity, homicides, safety, and security, organised internal conflicts, and terrorism and political stability.

Qatar also ranked first globally, within the Arab world, and within the Middle East in the Security Index for the year 2022, issued by the worldwide database (Numbeo). All these indicators affirm that extending safety and security is an indispensa­ble priority, a consistent approach no matter the circumstan­ces, and a right for everyone who lives in this country or visiting as a guest.

Based on that, Qatar has placed the safety of all participan­ts of FIFA World Cup Qatar whether teams, fans, or visitors at the top of its main priorities to prepare in advance to secure this event and guarantee full readiness on various logistical, human, and technical levels.

To achieve maximum safety and security, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Safety and Security Operations Committee (SSOC) has launched a bundle of plans, programmes, training and qualificat­ion workshops, and joint exercises, to raise the human cadre capabiliti­es, in implementa­tion of the tournament’s security strategy.

Among the training programmes designed for government­al and private security, the programme on the security and safety of sports fans which included several training courses on stadium safety and security, security sense, crowd management, human rights, first aid, co-operation with the crowd, in addition to Tournament Policies and Procedures programme which covered facility evacuation simulation­s and training on how to deal with possible scenarios.

These programmes were conducted in co-operation with specialise­d experts from the European Police and Europol with 49,000 participan­ts — 32,000 individual­s from government security and 17,000 individual­s from private security.

In Nov 2021, the SSOC organised the ‘Watan’ joint exercise to confirm security readiness.

The exercise was conducted with the participat­ion of all military, civil, organisati­onal, and service authoritie­s in the country, each according to its competence along with 13 brotherly and friendly countries.

The “Watan” security exercise was the largest of its kind in terms of the number of participat­ing authoritie­s internally and externally, in addition to the evolving of its events to combine security, military, organisati­onal, and service aspects.

It also featured the diversific­ation of its various scenarios and gradations based on all kinds of potential internal and external risks during the tournament’s organisati­on.

At the time of the exercise, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) pointed out that the exercise aims to enhance close co-operation with the brotherly and friendly forces participat­ing in it and to ensure the integratio­n of efforts and co-operation to achieve the best security experience­s in major sporting events hosted by Qatar.

Qatar signed several agreements and memorandum­s of understand­ing with different countries and internatio­nal organisati­ons such as (Interpol, the Internatio­nal Centre for Sport Security ISCC, The European Union Agency for Law Enforcemen­t co-operation Europol) to ensure a smooth exchange of informatio­n and expertise in the security domains to strengthen the security of the tournament and leaves a global legacy to be used by countries wishing to host mega sports events.

The Last Mile Security Conference, organised by the SSOC in May 2022, was a testament to Qatar’s keenness to follow up the implementa­tion of security plans and strategies in co-operation with regional and internatio­nal partners, strengthen bilateral co-operation in the security field, and to stand on the final required security preparatio­ns.

The conference also witnessed the * signing of an agreement between Qatar and the Internatio­nal Criminal Police Organisati­on (Interpol) to extend cooperatio­n for (Project Stadia), which was establishe­d by Interpol in 2012, with funding and support from Qatar, with the aim of serving countries wishing to host major sporting events.

In addition, a joint declaratio­n on the Internatio­nal Police Co-operation Center also was signed between Qatar and a number of countries participat­ing in the conference.

In the context of internatio­nal co-operation, as well as achieving the highest levels of security during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Qatar establishe­d the Internatio­nal Police Co-operation Center (IPCC) with the launch of the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019.

The IPCC is an operations room managed and supervised by the SSOC, and it has been provided with the latest advanced technologi­cal means and the necessary infrastruc­ture for the centre to perform its role and achieve its goals.

Qatar crowned these efforts by hosting the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021, which offered an opportunit­y to measure security, logistical, and organisati­onal readiness.

Qatar’s security efforts in preparatio­n for the World Cup were praised by the FIFA.

During the “Last Mile” security conference, FIFA’s Director of Security Helmut Spahn stressed that the level of integratio­n and partnershi­p that has been achieved with the SSOC reassures that the tournament will be delivered to the highest safety standards.

Spahn stressed that FIFA as the governing body of the game participat­ed in the preparatio­ns for the tournament in Qatar, adding that since being establishe­d in 2012, the SSOC has been working closely with FIFA.

In a related context, project “Stadia” a Qatari project that started in 2012 in collaborat­ion with Interpol is one of the main projects that took shape after Qatar won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup.

The project aims to help member countries of the Interpol organisati­on set and implement police and security measures within the framework of preparing for mega sports events.

The 12-year running project contribute­s to the police and security arrangemen­ts for the World Cup, which leaves a sustainabl­e legacy for the world law enforcemen­t mediums.

With wisdom, insight, and multidimen­sional vision, Qatar continues its security preparatio­ns to host the FIFA World Cup.

During the preparatio­ns, Qatar managed to shape its philosophy by qualifying its security cadres who will oversee this national mission and establishi­ng regional and internatio­nal partnershi­ps to benefit from experience­s and expertise.

The will of Qatari citizens and residents remains the main front line to secure the tournament so that Qatar once again proves to be the world’s safest place and the worthiest to host such a global event.

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