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Destination Qatar…and Education City

The music played, the songs were sung, and the atmosphere pulsed as hundreds of thousands of football fans converged on Education City, turning it into a sea of color, noise, and excitement as the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ came to town.

From Morocco to Ghana to South Korea to Uruguay, supporters arrived in their droves for the eight matches staged at the Education City Stadium – and Qatar Foundation (QF) pulled out all the stops to ensure every single one of them had an experience to remember.

And alongside the Education City Fan Experience which entertained, energized, and educated fans, QF organized an array of events, festivals, and programs that offered something for all members of the local and global community to enjoy every day during the tournament – the result of years of planning to make Education City a FIFA World Cup™ venue that would leave a place in people’s memories, and hearts.

"QF’s plans for the World Cup work toward an important ambition for us – ensuring the tournament brings people together and leaves a lasting legacy of accessibility and empowerment for people from all walks of life."

His Excellency Hassan Al ThawadiSecretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

Around 350,000 fans attended the 8 World Cup matches at the Education City Stadium, with around 355,000 people visiting the Education City Fan Experience.

Something for Everyone

Created with fun and inclusivity in mind, the Education City Fan Experience gave supporters attending matches at the Education City Stadium a welcome that reflected the Arab tradition of hospitality and friendliness.

With activations fully accessible to all visitors, the Education City Fan Experience was designed according to a guiding motto: “Something for everyone” – and that meant everything from photo booths and sustainability sculptures to a head-the-ball competition and a wall with plants representing the tournament’s 32 nations.

Performances included singing, dancing, and male and female freestyle footballers, with the culture of Qatar and the nations playing at the Education City Stadium reflected in the entertainment. Arabic poetry and Palestinian art and music were showcased along the way to the stadium, alongside Arabic and English hip hop performances and a Qatari majlis, and a video by QF school students highlighting the customs and traditions of Qatar.

And Qatar’s traditional ardha was also being performed on every match day. as QF sought to open eyes and minds to the cultural heritage of the nation and the Arab world.

"Through creating an inclusive fan experience, we are using sport as a powerful tool to foster social inclusion."

Brooke ReidManager of Engagement and Activation, QF

An Inclusive Celebration

At every stage and every step, the Education City Fan Experience reflected QF’s commitment to accessibility.

Sensory activations – including a freestanding music wall and tactile wall to help supporters with sensory regulation, and a wheelchair-accessible light tunnel providing a safe, quiet space for those struggling with overstimulation – were provided, alongside a mobile sensory trailer that acted as a refuge for fans with sensory issues.

Rest benches with wheelchair access were put in place, with golf carts helping fans with limited mobility get to and from the stadium and accessibility volunteers stationed at key points to guide and interact with fans of all abilities. And artists with disabilities were part of the matchday show - such as the Korean Traditional Music Orchestra for the Blind, whose members are all visually impaired – with music sign language interpreters on hand.

The inclusive, accessible nature of QF’s World Cup activations was based on stringent accessibility audits conducted ahead of the tournament – as they were for the Street Child World Cup 2022 and GOALS exhibition – to ensure every supporter felt safe, comfortable, and full of World Cup spirit.

1,000 volunteers were on duty on each Education City Stadium matchday, including 15 accessibility volunteers

Drawing a Crowd

It was difficult for people to take eyes off the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ action – and at Education City, thousands of eyes were fixed on its matches.

QF organized free family-friendly live screenings of 22 games at Oxygen Park, welcoming members of Qatar’s community and fans from around the world to soak up the World Cup atmosphere in one of Qatar’s most popular open green spaces.

The matches shown at QF included two of Qatar’s group games, the semi-finals and the thrilling final, with activities being arranged alongside the screenings to provide an extra layer of entertainment for families and visitors.

And nearby, QF’s Qur’anic Botanic Garden (QBG) hosted a series of fun and educational activities that invited people to help celebrate the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ in a way that illustrated the connection between sports and sustainability, including an environmental exhibition, a 3D hologram animation explaining verses from the Holy Qur’an, a chance to meet QBG’s Robot Guide, and a football-themed entertainment area.

More than 34,000 people attended World Cup screenings at Education City’s Oxygen Park

Planning for Success

Making Education City World Cup-ready involved detailed planning to ensure a safe, smooth, and enjoyable experience for fans, visitors, and QF’s own community.

Working with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the Ministry of Interior, QF teams developed an operational plan that was tested through three pre-tournament rehearsals, with key parking areas at Education City handed over to tournament organizers and extra parking and shuttle buses provided for students and other campus residents.

State-of-the-art wireless technology, CCTV cameras, and control room video walls helped keep Education City safe and allow a rapid response to any incidents, with teams also carrying out extensive cleaning and landscaping work to make Education City look its best for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – including planting 137 trees and uprooting and relocating 19 others to enhance supporter access.

And QF’s tournament operations also included ensuring Education City Fan Experience volunteers were fed, preparing and maintaining 41 accommodation units at Education City for World Cup use, and round-the-clock services at Oxygen Park and Multaqa (Education City Student Center).

  • 134 QF event guards supported Education City operations throughout the World Cup
  • 20+ QF security supervisors provided support to fans and the QF community on matchdays

The Right Moves

Keeping Education City on the move during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, QF developed a dedicated plan for its Education City Tram network, which played a crucial role in ferrying fans and visitors to games and events.

The plan – which saw QF transport teams work with Education City Fan Experience organizers, the Ministry of Interior, and the police – enabled the Education City Tram to transport around 4,000 fans in the space of 55 minutes on matchdays.

Meanwhile, with Qatar National Convention Centre – which stands on Education City’s north campus – being the international media hub for the tournament, QF teams ensured it was fully equipped to cater for 6,000-10,000 journalists every day.

This ranged from providing food and drink for thousands of media representatives, arranging a media conference and interview room, and even providing 24-hour services that made sure the building’s car parking area, and its 185 escalators and elevators, operated smoothly throughout the tournament.

During the World Cup, the Education City Tram carried an average of 8,400 passengers on matchdays, and 4,900 passengers on non-matchdays

Showcasing Qatar

From the moment they arrived in Qatar, World Cup fans were introduced to QF – through multimedia screens at Hamad International Airport that contained multilingual welcome messages from members of the QF community, as well as facts about Education City and episodes of the Beyond Football series that showcased the human stories of people involved in QF’s World Cup activations.

QF teamed up with Qatar Tourism to promote Education City as a must-see World Cup destination and ensure fans visiting the campus could access maps and guides; and with Qatar Airways to display content about QF on the airline’s Oryx in-flight entertainment system, giving supporters a taste of Education City before they even landed in Qatar.

And alongside helping to promote QF and Qatar to the world through engaging the many international journalists covering the tournament – including themed media tours of Education City – QF, together with the Government Communications Office, provided content aired on the Fox Network in the US that contributed to spreading the message that this would be the most accessible FIFA World Cup™ ever.

74 journalists from 30 countries joined 22 QF media tours during the World Cup

Speaking the Same Language

A FIFA World Cup™ brings people from all corners of the globe together – and an app created in a QF partner university aimed to ensure visitors to Qatar for the tournament could get into conversation with their Qatari and Arab hosts.

The free Qatari Phrasebook, developed at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) was updated to offer native English, French, Hindi, Spanish, Filipino, Urdu, Nepali, Chinese, and Turkish speakers access to the written and spoken forms of more than 1,700 common Arabic words and phrases, all in the Qatari dialect – helping them to ask directions, order food, or just offer a greeting.

And the language of football and empowerment was spoken when World Cup-winning former US women’s soccer team captain Amy Griffin – now the head coach of the US Deaf Women’s National Team – visited QF during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to run a football clinic with a girls’ team from QF’s Ability Friendly Program, which also included a discussion on disability football’s opportunities and challenges.

"We hope that, by learning a new language, visitors to Qatar can become part of the community and see Qatar in a whole new way."

Hany FazaArabic language instructor, GU-Q, and Qatari Phrasebook app co-creator

1,700 Arabic words and phrases are held on the Qatari Phrasebook app

Shaping an Experience

At a Qatar-wide level, QF played its part in the welcome that the nation would give to the world.

Collaborating with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), QF had a central role in the Q22 Visitor Experience Project, focused on making every supporter’s time in Qatar a memorable one.

Following a 2020 agreement, QF and the SC worked together in the buildup to the tournament on areas including sensory rooms in stadiums, air quality management, single-use plastic reduction campaigns, and using smart technology for crowd monitoring and control.

As Machaille Hassan Al-Naimi, Strategic Initiatives Executive Officer, QF, said: “We are delighted to sharing our expertise, resources, and facilities to help ensure the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is a truly unforgettable experience for the people of Qatar, the Arab region, and the world.”

And – as anyone who watched and experienced everything that unfolded in Qatar over 29 days in 2022 can attest to – what happened when Qatar threw open its doors and its arms to the world would be unforgettable.

"We look forward to continuing to work with Qatar Foundation on various projects that will benefit the local community both in the lead-up to Qatar 2022, and after the tournament has been completed."

Yasir Al JamalChairman of the Operations Office and Vice Chairman of the Technical Delivery Office, SC, at the signing of the Q22 Visitor Experience Project agreement