NATO confirmed that it will assist Qatar in its preparation and operation of security measures for the 2022 FIFA World Cup happening later this year.
1.2 million tickets are estimated to have been purchased for the sport event, with 40 million applications submitted to attend the tournament. As a global event, security is expected to be at a premium with a heavy focus on crowding, anti-terrorism and crowd control.
The North Atlantic alliance explained in a statement: “The support will include training against threats posed by Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) materials, which will be delivered by Slovakia and NATO’s Joint CBRN Defence Centre of Excellence in the Czech Republic.”
The security support will also entail training offered by Romania for the protection of very important people (VIPs) as well as to deter threats posed by improvised explosive devices. The alliance added: “A first training session dealing with Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear threats was conducted this past May in Slovakia.”
Whilst the World Cup itself won’t be held until later in the year, preparations for security and operations are well underway. Turkey and Qatar met earlier in June in Doha to discuss security matters including personnel.
In January, Turkish Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu said his country will temporarily send 3,250 security officers to Qatar for the sporting event. Those to be deployed during the tournament include 3,000 riot police officers, 100 Turkish special forces, 50 bomb detection dogs and their operators, 50 bomb experts and other staff – all of whom will be on duty for 45 days.
Soylu also added that Ankara has also trained 677 Qatari security personnel in 38 different professional areas, without providing further details on the specificities, according to Al Jazeera.
The Qatari and Turkish interior ministries had previously signed an agreement to join efforts in organising the much anticipated football event.
Turkey isn’t the only nation supporting Qatar, as Morocco has reportedly agreed to support with a team of cybersecurity experts to Qatar ahead of the World Cup, according to Rabat-based media.
According to the report by Morocco World News, Doha had requested Rabat’s assistance in securing the major sporting event as part of its efforts to expand the two countries’ security cooperation and partnership.
Away from the region, Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy is set to provide counter-terror policing during the competition, which is a first for Britain as it will be the first time they have supplied security outside of the UK for a World Cup event. Ben Wallace, the Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom announced Britain and Qatar will “join forces to provide air policing in the skies.”
The Ministry of Defence will also support Qatar with military capabilities to counter terrorism and other threats to the tournament through maritime security, operational planning, and command and control support.
To read more exclusive features and latest news please see our latest issue here.