Expect World Cup congestion, amid Qatar's "challenging" four-game daily schedule, say organisers

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Stadium Preview - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - September 29, 2022 General view inside the stadium ahead of the World Cup REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous

DOHA Oct 12 (Reuters) - Officials are expecting congested roads during the World Cup and warn that managing four soccer games a day in Doha will be a challenge, tournament organisers said on Wednesday.

A central innovation organisers promised for Qatar's World Cup is that fans can take in multiple matches in a single day in the smallest country to host the global showpiece event, which kicks off on Nov. 20.

Qatar is expecting an unprecedented 1.2 million visitors during the month-long tournament, more than a third of the Gulf Arab state's population of about 3 million.

"Having four matches in a day is a challenge, in a city like Doha ... of course we are expecting to have congestion on the streets," said Abdulaziz Ali Al-Mawlawi, mobility director at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Qatar's tournament organisers.

"Therefore we are here today ... to give notices and warn fans to follow certain rules."

To reduce congestion, Al-Mawlawi urged fans to travel early to matches with multiple people in the same car. Additionally, Qatar has ordered schools to close and 80% of government employees to work from home. It has banned certain vehicles from central Doha.

Games will take place at eight stadiums all located within 40 kilometres of central Doha. During the first two weeks of the tournament there will be four matches each day, with kickoffs scheduled between 1300 and 2200 local time.

The Hayya card, Qatar's mandatory fan ID, will give fans free access to the metro system, which links the city's two airports with five stadiums.

During the tournament, the metro will boost operations, laying on 110 trains instead of the usual 75 that will stop every 165 seconds, 21 hours per day, said Abdulla Saif Al-Sulaiti, Chief of Service Delivery at metro operator Qatar Rail.

Qatar will operate more than 3,100 busses during the tournament, nearly quadrupling the number of buses in the country, which is approximately the size of Jamaica. Additionally, 3,000 taxis and 11,500 Ubers will be available.

Reporting by Andrew Mills, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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