M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 193
Alive & Kickin’: How Qatar can host a successful 2022 World Cup given COVID-19 concerns & limitations
On September 29, 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) shocked the world by announcing that only spectators living in mainland China would be allowed to attend in-person events at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. By virtue of banning all foreign visitors to the Winter Olympics, it will now be FIFA's World Cup in Doha, Qatar set to kick off in November 2022, nearly 3 years after the Coronavirus pandemic began, that will be the first and largest global gathering in a post-pandemic world. In this study, I focus on one main research question central to this policy analysis: How can Qatar host a successful World Cup given COVID concerns and limitations in a vaccinated post-pandemic world?
In consideration of Qatar’s portfolio of work, I developed a clearly defined scope of analysis. Throughout this study, I focused on investigating:
1. What a successful game experience means and what factors drive it;
2. How to mitigate against COVID outbreaks during mega-events;
3. Ways to ensure the fan experience is uninterrupted; and
4. Lessons learned from the FIFA Arab Cup: the official pilot of the 2022 World Cup.
In order to determine the criteria to assess the different options for how Qatar can host a successful World Cup given COVID concerns and limitations in a vaccinated post-pandemic world, I relied on the following approaches to gather information and evidence: literature reviews; conducting interviews; case studies; and observation.