Qatar games unite people

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“Football is universal. In other words, sport is universal and unifying. No other issue should be included in the sport”…reports Asian Lite News

As the 2022 FIFA World Cup enters the semi-final stage, football fans in Türkiye said the month-long event would contribute to eradicating prejudices among religions, nations and people.

The World Cup displays the unifying power of sports and helps people erase their bias against each other, Ecem Koc, a young woman in Istanbul, told Xinhua. “Football is universal. In other words, sport is universal and unifying. No other issue should be included in the sport.”

“There is such a multicultural environment. … Qatar is very open to different nations, values and cultures,” said Feyza Gumusluoglu, foreign news department coordinator of Istanbul-based broadcaster EkoTurk.

However, the journalist, who lived in Qatar’s capital Doha from 2010 to 2016, noticed that the country’s achievements on the course to the World Cup were being overshadowed by unfair news from western media. “The handling and the coverage of this World Cup by the Western press, has come to a point of smearing,” she told Xinhua.

Gumusluoglu said she believes that Qatar did a tremendous job transforming the country in line with the requirements of such a big sports event, implementing a series of reforms on labor policy, building and improving infrastructure, and redesigning cities.

In early November, the Arab League said some Western countries had politicized the games by fabricating a “baseless campaign of defamation” against Qatar through their media coverage. Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, recently lashed out at some Western media, blaming certain Westerners for having “hypocritical double standards.”

For Fatih Ahmetcan Alpcan, a 24-year-old social media manager in Türkiye, the World Cup is where people can get rid of their current problems for a while and only focus on football.

“Even though we (Türkiye) did not participate in the World Cup, it is an organization where we get away from current issues for a while and talk about football and sports. It is important in this sense,” Alpcan said.

Murat Tufan, an analyst with Ekoturk, said the World Cup in Qatar shows that another world is possible and that tolerance should prevail in such a world.

Fans Throng

After the first round of FIFA World Cup group stage matches were completed, official figures show that the average overall match attendance stands at an impressive 94% compared to stadium capacities for the event, according to a report published by FIFA on its website.

With all 32 nations having taken to the field – and more than three million tickets sold for the tournament – the strong attendance figures also follow the recent news that the preliminary comparable television viewing figures are up in nations across the world from the previous FIFA World Cup edition.

The highest match attendance of the tournament was the game at Lusail Stadium on 24 November, with 88,103 there to see Brazil beat Serbia 2-0. On the same day, the FIFA Fan Festival in Doha’s Al Bidda Park has also achieved its highest accumulative attendance, with a total of 98,000 fans throughout the day. The multi-national and multi-cultured festival of football is screening every FIFA World Cup game on giant screens, as well as providing free entertainment between games with some of the most famous names from music scenes around the world – and has been enjoyed by fans from every corner of the globe.

While FIFA requests that venues hosting the final match, opening game and semi-finals can host a minimum of 80,000 and 60,000 spectators respectively, the magnificent Lusail Stadium can accommodate 88,966 spectators, while Al Bayt Stadium can host up to 68,895 fans. For all other matches, a minimum 40,000-seater capacity is required, with the demountable Stadium 974 being the most compact of all Qatar 2022 venues (44,089).

The capacity figures for the tournament have been finalised after all operational arrangements were made – from the final seating map to temporary infrastructure to accommodate media, broadcasters, and guests. It was also explained that capacities for specific matches such as opening and final may vary slightly, and that figures for legacy mode are different and provided by the Host Country.

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