Friday 25 February 2022, 01:00

Ten sustainability features of the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021

One of the most important aspects of the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021™ was the tournament’s commitment to sustainability.

Here, we run through ten key sustainability features of the event, which took place from 30 November to 18 December and provided Qatar with the perfect opportunity to fine-tune its preparations for this year’s FIFA World Cup™.

#1 Inauguration of the first demountable FIFA World Cup™ stadium Stadium 974, built mainly from shipping containers, hosted its first match on the opening day of the tournament. Its innovative design means it can be completely dismantled – with its components reused to create sporting facilities in Qatar and overseas. Stadium 974 is a potential game-changer for future mega-event hosts and will stage seven matches during Qatar 2022 up to the round of 16 stage.

#2 Sustainable tournament venues All tournament stadiums were designed and operated in accordance with the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) standards, and are on track to achieve at least 4-star GSAS certification. GSAS is a performance-based sustainable building rating system that helps to minimise the ecological impact of a development while preserving the values, traditions and identity of the region.

#3 Free public transport Throughout the tournament, ticket holders and accredited staff had access to free public transport. More than 2.5 million journeys were made on the Doha Metro during the tournament, with 240,000 directly related to fans attending matches.

#4 Setting new standards in waste reduction Zero waste from tournament venues was sent to landfill during the FIFA Arab Cup™, while 70 per cent was successfully recycled at Al Bayt Stadium. Avoiding production of waste, maximising the use of recyclable or compostable materials, and encouraging workforce and fans to segregate waste contributed to the effort.

#5 Accessible stadium experience On top of the state-of-the-art accessible infrastructure in all venues, several steps were taken during the tournament to ensure an accessible stadium experience for disabled fans and those with limited mobility. The measures included the provision of volunteers dedicated to ensuring an accessible user journey, accessible toilet facilities, the provision of low height concession counters and the availability of accessible seating, including extra wide seats. Additionally, golf carts were made available to escort disabled fans and those with limited mobility to the stadium gates.

#6 Audio descriptive commentary in Arabic for the first time Blind and partially sighted fans were able to enjoy audio descriptive commentary in Arabic at a FIFA tournament for the first time. Using their personal mobile devices and headphones and a dedicated mobile app, fans could listen to play-by-play commentary in great detail. This included information about the stadium’s ambience and even the reaction on players’ faces. Plans are underway to ensure this service is available in Arabic and English at all tournament venues during Qatar 2022.

#7 Sensory room at Education City Stadium Fans with sensory access requirements, including children with Autism, were able to watch matches from a sensory room at Education City Stadium. The facility, located in one of the stadium’s sky boxes, offered visitors the chance to enjoy a football match in a specially-lit space equipped with soft furnishings and toys that aim to alleviate any anxiety they may feel while attending a large-scale event. There are plans to have sensory rooms at three stadiums during Qatar 2022.

#8 Tobacco-free tournament Tobacco use is prohibited at all FIFA tournaments to help protect the health of participants and attendees, particularly those that may be affected by second-hand smoke. Staff, volunteers and Ministry of Public Health inspectors worked to ensure awareness of this policy and enforced it across all six tournament venues.

#9 Anti-discrimination and human rights There is no place for discriminatory behaviour in football. With passions running high during the tournament, systems were put in place to prevent, avoid and stop any behaviour that might be deemed discriminatory or affect other people’s rights. In addition, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Human Rights Grievance Mechanism was launched before the FIFA Arab Cup™ and will continue to address any human rights complaints in the lead-up to and during the tournament.

#10 More than 5,000 staff, volunteers and contractors trained on sustainability In the build-up to the tournament, more than 5,000 staff, volunteers and contractors received training on different aspects of delivering a sustainable tournament. The training, delivered by tournament organisers, covered a wide range of sustainability topics, including accessibility awareness, anti-discrimination, waste recycling and the implementation of the FIFA Event Policy on Tobacco.

For further information about Qatar and FIFA’s commitment to sustainability, take a look at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Sustainability Progress Report, which illustrates some of the major achievements made to date.