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Officials anticipate congested roads during the World Cup and warn that managing four games per day in Doha will be difficult, according to tournament organisers on Wednesday.
A key innovation promised by organizers for Qatar’s World Cup is that fans will be able to watch multiple matches in a single day in the smallest country to host the global showpiece event, which begins on Nov. 20.
During the month-long tournament, Qatar expects an unprecedented 1.2 million visitors, more than a third of the Gulf Arab state’s population of about 3 million.
“Having four matches in a day is a challenge, in a city like Doha … of course, we are expecting to have congestion on the streets,” said Abdulaziz Ali Al-Mawlawi, mobility director at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Qatar’s tournament organisers.
“Therefore we are here today … to give notices and warn fans to follow certain rules.”
Al-Mawlawi urged fans to arrive early for matches with multiple people in the same car to reduce congestion. In addition, Qatar has ordered that schools be closed and that 80% of government employees work from home. Certain vehicles have been prohibited from entering central Doha.
The games will be held in eight stadiums located within 40 kilometers of central Doha. There will be four matches per day during the first two weeks of the tournament, with kickoffs scheduled between 1300 and 2200 local time.
The Hayya card, Qatar’s mandatory fan ID, will provide fans with free access to the city’s metro system, which connects the city’s two airports to five stadiums. During the tournament, the metro will boost operations, laying on 110 trains instead of the usual 75 that will stop every 165 seconds, 21 hours per day, said Abdulla Saif Al-Sulaiti, Chief of Service Delivery at metro operator Qatar Rail.
Qatar will operate more than 3,100 busses during the tournament, nearly quadrupling the number of buses in the country, which is approximately the size of Jamaica. Additionally, 3,000 taxis and 11,500 Ubers will be available.