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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Local sports editor calls for accountability over Emir Cup ‘fiasco’

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Emir Cup

Last weekend, several hundred ticket-holders in Qatar were denied entry to the Emir Cup at Khalifa Stadium for reasons yet to be addressed by the event organizers.

Dr. Ahmed Al Mohannadi, the outspoken editor-in-chief of sports publication Doha Stadium Plus, denounced the turn of events as “pitiable” and “disgusting,” saying it detracts from the hard work put into the match.

In a recent editorial, he pointed out that this was not the first time paying fans were turned away at popular sporting events, as similar scenarios took place during last year’s Spain vs. Uruguay match and the 2011 Asian Football Confederation Final.

Al Mohannadi continued:

“I won’t raise the question ‘who’s to be blamed?’ For, we’ve been gleefully engaging in blame games after similar commotions many times in the past.

The security personnel are supposed to soak up moments of confusion, but many of them at the gates looked clueless and agitated. The Qatar Football Association may not be at direct fault. But if anyone points a finger at it being the guardian of the game in the country, we can’t blame him.”

There also appeared to be room for improvement in terms of the organization of the event inside the stadium. On his blog, Qatar resident Glen McKay, who attended the match, wrote:

“Because the stadium was full the concession stands were completely overwhelmed, at least in the area I was sitting in. Crowds three or four deep pushing and shoving trying to buy something at the counter. No order to it at all, no queue. Supplies of some things ran low, I wanted to buy some water but the concession stand had run out.”

The familiar outcome has prompted many residents to question Qatar’s preparedness to host the 2022 World Cup, one of the globe’s largest sporting events.

To keep organizational problems from recurring, Al Mohannadi advocates patience in planning, instead of opting to “find more joy in being the lords of our own fiefdom.”

Thoughts?

36 COMMENTS

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Bursin
Bursin
6 years ago

A sign of things to come? I can just imagine what 100,00 world cup fans would do if the shops ran out of water, or even worse… Beer! Qatar will need to expand its prisons for the amount of riots there are going to be. Not sure what will be better, watching the football or the ensuing disaster management.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  Bursin

Still time for the fifa and sure things will be worked out…But coming to the topic really bad for those who paid it…they need to compensate them for the money and time they took to come there but invain

truth.e.ness
truth.e.ness
6 years ago

I couldn’t agree more. Issuing tickets, but not honoring them is theft.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Love the ” I’m sure things will get worked out ” could be t shirt in that.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Piss up and brewery come to mind….

wee_johnnie
wee_johnnie
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Luckily no breweries here so don’t have to worry about that 🙂

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago

Hmm Mohannadi admits this has happened too often but let’s not bother blaming anyone at all whatsoever. But let’s have a go at the clueless and hapless security personel who are probably paid peanuts to stand in the heat and face the anger and wrath of everyone being denied access just because someone high up told them not to let anymore in.
Yes that will solve everything. Lesson learnt I guess.
Until the next time.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

He’d probably be sued for defamation or some other archaic law that Qatar still has. LOL even if it’s true I can sue you for defamation. Qatar never stops amazing me at the level of sheer incompetence.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

They’d better get their act together before 2022 – brassed off FIFA fans will happily sue for breach of contract, which is what a purchased ticket constitutes. Especially if they’ve travelled thousands of miles to get here, and then not been able to get a pint. Anyone doubting the tenacity of such fans should be aware that after the Hillsborough disaster, fans and families fought for 25 years for justice.

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  Marie

And they still are fighting for justice!

Marilyn McLeroy
Marilyn McLeroy
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

Yeah, well apparently they haven’t learned by past mistakes! There should be some one available at all times that have more authority than the security personnel. Someone that can problem solve on the spot. I they cannot do that they do not deserve to host any game that they sell tickets to. Some one knew they brought in laborers to fill seats. When they found out there were people that actually purchased tickets they should have been marching those poor sods right back out to the bus. Instead they punish those that purchased tickets.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

I’ve lived here for 6 years. I don’t recall a major football game that hasn’t been a fiasco.

kevin
kevin
6 years ago

all cosumables and tickets will be controlled by FIFA for the world cup. So this wont happen

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago
Reply to  kevin

FIFA will take the money and make sure there is no competition for the business, control will be down to the local authorities.
“Al Mohannadi advocates patience in planning” – It’s not “patience” that is required, it’s some bloody urgency!

If stadium events keep getting, consistently, %*#&ed up, like all previous events, then only an imbecile would trust the local authorities to even ‘try’ to run a World Cup.

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago
Reply to  kevin

FIFA will sell the tickets, but will they also supply the security guards to confirm this doesn’t happen? Will they have any control of the people who allow buses of laborers to fill the seats “just in case”?

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

No, FIFA will not supply security guards. Security is entirely the responsibility of the host country. That is what is becoming a very scary thought, as the time available for them to adapt is fast running out. Yet another stadium fiasco demonstrates a total disregard for improving?

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  Myrddin

I guess they will outsource the full event management to an American or European company… Including EVERYTHING.

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Osama, I think you are pretty close. There is a small and competent group of professional ‘event’ managers who are hired by host countries to bring their experience and expertise. These people move from contract-to-contract and cut their teeth on the Commonwealth Games, Pan-AM Games and Olympics. I’d guess they would also find their way to the World Cup as well…

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Do you recall the fiasco at the opening of the Asian Games in 2006? Everything was planned and organized by a team of experts from all around the world, with experience at many, many Olympic events. And then, on the day of the opening, the local security forces turned up, threw away 3 years worth of planning, and tried to run things ‘their way’. Hilarity ensued.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Myrddin

Yep 8 years is almost no time………fair point to view this game as a concern, however, I would temper it with the fact that any world cup game is going to have 100% Fifa involvement prior, that includes security protocols, stadium procedures, crowd logistics etc. Give the Qatari’s a chance and don’t stone them based on one local game. Above all, the resources are there, so lets wait and see.

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago

A real shame! That being said, I ventured out last night to watch IRB Rugby at the Al Arabi Stadium. I must say, the grounds are beautiful and the volunteer security staff knew exactly what they were doing (maybe a reason why they had smiles for everyone). Watched Malaysia play Iran and then Thailand play Qatar. No problem with seating as Rugby doesn’t draw crowds like Football. As an FYI, they are playing again on Friday night. 😉

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Have to agree. Regional rugby match v World Cup – same same?

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

The standard refrain of “…we are a young country, these things take time…” doesn’t wash here! If several thousand people, who have paid a fair slice of their annual income, travel to Qatar having obtained a genuine ticket get turned away from the ground there will be a monumental riot. This will not be Doha expats, who are accustomed to the ridiculous. Guns, or no guns, there will be local security forces impaled on every lamppost down Al Waab Street.
I really don’t think the local authorities understand the very serious ramifications of their ambivalence to this problem?

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Myrddin

I think that you are correct here. We here tend to turn the other cheek a bit and plough on with living here. The same cannot be said for thousands of football fans who will have paid a small fortune to come and stay here during the tournament. I am not convinced that the rent a military will be trained to cope with this scenario and it has the potential to be a massive mess. Imagine the scenario where a number of supporters are killed by over anxious security/police. The organisers will not have to dismantle the stadia, the fans will do it for them!

Passthebuck
Passthebuck
6 years ago

Dr. Al Mohannadi actually writes some thought provoking pieces as editor of Doha Stadium Plus, and not just on sport related issues. He has often been critical of authorities where most often nothing would be said. I enjoy the fact he is prepared to speak up on certain issues. If you’ve never read a DSP please do, not just for the weekly sports news, but to read some interesting, forward thinking editorials.
Qatar has the technology to ticket actual seats. This happens at Qatar National Conevntion Center or Al Rayyan Theatre, anything through Virgin. Why this hasn’t been implemented for sporting events is the question. Having attended the recent Diamond League it was disturbing to say the least to see security in full gear with shields outside the stadium as tempers flared with people holding tickets who couldn’t get in.
Do away with all the free tickets and have events stand on their own merits. Show respect to those who pay for their tickets and expect a seat, let alone entry. Qatar still has much to learn in terms of fan engagement, crowd control and security training. Don’t blame the security, blame the level of, or lack of, training and the lack of effective event management. And the local sporting organisations for not seeking advice on how to rectify these issues.

Global Nomad
Global Nomad
6 years ago

We had tickets and did not get in and my son was very disappointed. We noticed that some fans had tickets without numbers on them, others had tickets with numbers on (like ours) and therefore the organisers had no idea how many people had tickets. Whoever printed the tickets without numbers and gave them out are to blame? Not to mention letting in people without tickets (if that happened as well).
The ISF guards we saw on the last gate we tried got very angry and started shouting at everyone aggressively, so we left quickly along with the blue collar expats who rush away as we did.
We shall not be going to try to go to a football match again unless we know that a printed seat number is on the tickets in the future and that it guarantees us access and a seat, or our money back. So we will probably not be going to a football match in Qatar again.
I know some people who got inside and they felt that there is a great risk of a Hillsborough-UK type scenario happening in Qatar before someone finally does something.

Do something now Qatar before something serious happens.

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

There should be no problem with the WC tickets itself. Each ticket has your name and passport number on it (in an attempt to reduce black market sales). Therefore the security checking process to enter each stadium is what will take the most time. I think similar problems here is genuine ticket holders have been locked out because it takes them too long to get them through the gates.
I personally dont like havint to arrive hours before kick off when I go to games (as I dont see the point). May have to for the WC cup! On the plus side at least I will be able to get a beer in the stadium as per the FIFA contract!

Global Nomad
Global Nomad
6 years ago

Someonehad printed and sold/given out tickets that were not numbered, therefore nobody knew how many people had tickets. The organisation that printed and sold tickets without numbers on created the problem. (Yes and there were lots of other organisational failures as well, bottles of drinking water running out, etc.) However, there were also tickets with numbers on and we had some of those, our numbers were in the mid-50,000s! Arrived 35 minutes early and failed to get in with my children, who were very disappointed. We shall not try that again unless we can get tickets with gate and seats number on them, and a guarantee that we can get our money back if we are not allowed in.

disqus_21uQ1hXhE0
disqus_21uQ1hXhE0
6 years ago

Getting locked out of the Asian Cup final was terrifying. The organizers offered no explanation, and the security forces made it worse by having no idea how to control a crowd. They brought out batons and dogs for a crowd including families with young children. They had better get a clue or we’re going to see a disaster.

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago

Yep…. I remember my friend from Japan who flew here to watch the game and got locked out. He was just speechless. He couldn’t imagine how something like that could happen. It was unimaginable.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

As they did with the Asian Games they will hire an outside firm to develop, organize and run the event. then the local dis organizing team will sit back and say, “look what we did”.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

…but hoping they won’t put their noses in the organization when they bring the outside firm!

Diego
Diego
6 years ago

The concept of learning from mistakes and putting new measures in place to improve things isn’t happening and this opens up for more critisism.Sad.

Diego
Diego
6 years ago

Wonder if theres a correlation between the PISA scores and the ticket fiascos.

greylag
greylag
6 years ago

This is so elementary it’s not funny. A very good example how these events should go is the
f1 in Abu Dhabi. The planning for people movement starts from the car parks and each ticket is electronically keyed to the particular entrance to the track (stadium?) such that you can only go in the place you are supposed to be. q2022would do well to copy that system.

Luciano Salvatore
Luciano Salvatore
6 years ago

Accountability? Qatar? #PolesApart

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