Supreme Committee addresses Lusail Stadium issues

Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, local organising committee for Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup, has said “invaluable experience” was gained from the first full-scale test at Lusail Stadium, amid a number of complaints from fans attending the event.

The 80,000-capacity centrepiece for the upcoming World Cup staged its first full-capacity event on Friday night as 77,575 fans attended the Lusail Super Cup match between Al Hilal and Zamalek. However, there have since been complaints from a number of attendees concerning issues such as transport infrastructure, stadium access, food and beverage, air conditioning and general organisational problems.

The Supreme Committee had arranged a number of parking lots around the stadium to accommodate the many fans opting to drive to the new venue. However, while hundreds of buses were available to transport fans, some parking lots did not offer shuttle services.

One person told the Doha News website that he and his family of five had to walk in 35-degree heat for over 45 minutes to reach the stadium. Mohammed, a father of three, said: “I had to carry my young son because he was tired from walking and was so dehydrated. There was no water at all, the volunteers kept saying ‘I don’t know’ every time I asked how far we have left. My wife almost fainted. It was a very bad experience for all of us.”

Questions have also been raised over the number of volunteers in place to help fans, while the availability of water and other beverages, along with food, was also said to be a major issue. Hussain Al Ashaq, a Qatari influencer, said on his Snapchat story that he could not locate any water or cold beverages after the first half of the game.

“There’s no water, no Pepsi, no food. Everyone is struggling to try to find anything to eat or drink,” he said, showing hundreds of people leaving the stadium before half-time.

Friday’s game marked the biggest attendance at a sporting event in Qatar’s history. Fans also pointed to a lack of air conditioning inside the stadium marring the fan experience amid the high humidity.

One fan told Doha News: “I was just really enjoying my time, but it was so hot inside. After hours of waiting in the heat, I expected to at least relax when I enter, but I was sweating like crazy and everyone was fanning themselves with either papers or flags.”

Exiting Lusail Stadium following the game also provided challenges, with one fan stating it took more than two and a half hours to reach the local metro station alone, adding there were no special queues or lanes to assist families.

The World Cup is due to kick-off on November 20, with Lusail Stadium, Qatar’s biggest World Cup venue, set to host 10 matches during the tournament, starting with the Group C clash between Argentina and Saudi Arabia on November 22.

In a statement, the Supreme Committee said: “As a test event, the Super Cup was designed to identify any operational issues and learn lessons that may be applied to help Qatar deliver a seamless experience for all at the FIFA World Cup 2022.

“Every team involved in the event’s organisation gained invaluable experience they will carry into this year’s tournament.

“We would like to thank everyone who attended the Super Cup – they all contributed to Qatar’s successful hosting of this year’s FIFA World Cup, the first in the Middle East and Arab world.”