Qatar World Cup chiefs make ANOTHER U-turn as they urge fans to drive to matches to ‘free up capacity for visitors’, despite the tournament being billed as the most sustainable in history and having a state-of-the-art public transport system
Qatar World Cup organisers have made another surprise last minute U-turn this time advising locals that the best way for them to get to stadiums is to drive – despite promising that the tournament would be the greenest ever.
After the unexpected controversial ban on beer sales around stadiums, organisers have caught out football supporters again by advising Qataris that they should forget about public transport and travel to matches in their cars because ‘there is ample free parking in stadiums.’
Prior to the tournament kicking off organisers had promised that Qatar 2022 would be the most sustainable in World Cup history and that carbon emissions would be severely limited thanks to a state-of-the-art public transport system.
Announcing its directive to buck the global trend for ditching the car, Qatar’s World Cup organising committee said: ‘People who live in Qatar and have access to a car should drive to matches. There is ample free parking within walking distance of all eight stadiums. Local residents are encouraged to drive in order to free up capacity on the Doha Metro and other public transport services for visitors.’
The directive goes on to provide detailed information for drivers on how they can get to each of the World Cup’s eight stadiums and where they can park.
Referring to the Khalifa International Stadium where England kick off their World Cup campaign against Iran on Monday it states: ‘Parking space is located close to the stadium. These car parks will open 4 hours before kick-off and close 1.5 hours after the final whistle. Accessible parking options will be available.
Fans have been left surprised and shocked once again by the tournament organisers’ U-turn
‘Please arrive early because car parks will fill up fast.’
Ironically, in the run up to the tournament organisers had claimed that the compactness of the tournament, the smallest ever in World Cup history would help to limit its carbon footprint. The longest distance between stadiums is 75km and five of the arenas are connected to the Doha Metro.
The organising committee’s advice has once again left football fans confused and angry.
A public transport network in the Qatari capital was specially constructed for the competition
England fan Simon Carter, 45 said: ‘I’ve been to a lot of World Cups and it’s the first time that I’m hearing this kind of advice. It seems that public transport isn’t good enough for the locals. It’s one rule for them and one rule for us.
‘I thought FIFA and the World Cup organisers were trying to become green and save the planet? They’re not doing a very good job of it if you ask me. How does it make sense to tell hundreds of people to get in their cars and drive relatively short distances to stadiums?’
Katherine Moore, 26 from Surrey added: ‘I’m quite into green issues like a lot of people my age and this is ridiculous advice. All over the world people are being encouraged not use their cars when they can, particularly where you’ve got such a great public transport system in place.
The longest distance between any of the arenas at the smallest World Cup in history is 75km
‘They’re making some very confusing decisions at this World Cup. First they ban the beer and now they’re telling a lot of people to get in their cars and increase carbon emissions. It’s ridiculous.’
One local who did not want to be named said: ‘Our metro is fantastic but it’ going to be very crowded. I’m quite happy that we’re being encouraged to take our cars and there’s going to be plenty of parking. I just hope that the traffic isn’t too bad but I’m sure it will be.’
Ironically, the organising committee’s advice comes despite Doha having one of the best metro systems in the world and was built especially for the tournament.
Five of the eight arenas to be used in Qatar are connected to the Doha metro system
It currently has three lines and air-conditioned driver less trains which have a maximum speed of 60mph and they are spotlessly clean and punctual. It even has immaculate ‘Gold Class’ carriages for premium passengers.
Work on expanding the metro is to start once the World Cup is over with another line and more stations to be added. By the time the whole project has been completed it will have cost an estimated £30 billion.
FIFA has also made a big play of its green credentials in recent times, launching a green strategy in which it declares: ‘FIFA has been taking steps to reduce emissions and to offset its carbon footprint at our flagship events, the FIFA World Cups for some years whilst working together with our tournament hosts and partners to ensure that the stadiums meet international climate friendly standards as crucial host bidding requirements.’
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