Hosting an international game is hard as the organizer is under the scrutiny of the public eye. After saying that, Qatar, a small country of 1.5 million population and 11,571 km sq. in land area will be hosting the most popular game on earth in 2022: the FIFA World Cup. This will not be an easy quest, however, Qatar has 10 years to practice to be a good host the way London proved this year by hosting 2012 Olympic Games.
Below is one of the many practice matches that Qatar will have until D-Day, as described by my office colleague who is a football freak and went to see a qualification football match between Iraq and Australia in Doha. The above was the title of his story, which I only copy paste from his email to us:
“Went to watch the Socceroos play Iraq last night – what a joke!
It must be the emptiest stadium I’ve ever visited for an international football match (refer attached) – even when Malta play San Marino, there’s more people than that! Official attendance was a mere 2183! It felt like security outnumbered fans!! They even had this enormous anti-riot armoured tank outside the stadium. God knows what for! Maybe they thought we were all hooligan poms?!!
Mind you, they decided I was a hooligan as I got chucked out for a couple of minutes coz I was a very naughty boy & spat water out of my mouth when one of the Ozzies carrying a blow-up kangaroo had me in stitches. After all, I do look exactly like a hooligan Geordie, don’t I??!!! (They let me back in 30 seconds later!!)
The Oz fans were made to sit in a corner at one of the far ends, so our view wasn’t great. But I would think there were more of us than Iraqis, which I thought was surprising. When a bunch of Ozzie kids (5 to 10 year olds!) were playing/running around & climbing the handrails in front of the riot squad (!), they promptly sprung into action & used their walkie-talkies to get some reinforcements (2 more!), then insisted with the Oz parents that their children were not allowed to act in such a threatening manner!!! Boos from the Oz crowd then erupted!
Standard of services was pathetic. To go to the loo, you had to exit the stadium through the turnstiles then walk around to the men’s somewhere around. The food outlet was also outside. AND useless! One Oz fan decided to buy the only box of Gulfa plastic-cup water that they had for sale on a free-standing table to be able to distribute it to the rest of us. After that, THEY RAN OUT!!! And that’s with a grand total of 2183 people. Other than that, they were only selling twistees & crisps!!
Then, traffic after the match was horrendous. And that’s with an attendance of 2183! Does not augur well for the World Cup!!!
The game itself was quite boring & only got interesting in the latter half of the 2nd half. Most Ozzies got bored & were just having a social chat while the game went on. It was only after we went a goal down that the Socceroos & the Ozzie fans lifted. In the end, the better team won, but as usual we did it the hard way.