Bangladeshi cab drivers in Doha --- 8,000 of them --- have had to undergo English language and etiquette training. Soldiers have been brought in from Pakistan to bolster security arrangements, 3,000 Turkish riot police and security personnel from France, Britain and the US. Dutch and French firms are working on infrastructure. Several thousand migrant workers from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines have built seven of the eight stadiums from scratch since Qatar bagged the World Cup bid in 2010.
These migrant labourers also helped build hotels, roads, an airport, a new metro system; many of them died in the process. The Danish team’s kit manufacturer, Hummel, has hidden its branding with the explanation, “We don’t wish to be visible during a tournament that has cost thousands of lives.” Jerseys and flags from Bangladesh, footballs from China and Pakistan. Grass seed, several hundred tonnes, flown in from the US, for the stadium pitches and 136 training centres. Tear-resistant jerseys from Taiwan, transformers from Calcutta and miniature dhows --- meant to be gifts for spectators --- from Kozhikode. Chinese sponsors have brought in $1.395 billion, outdoing the $1.1billion spent by their US counterparts.
In sickness and for football
Even disgruntled neighbours turned amiable closer to the deadline once the spillover benefits became apparent. Promotional tours in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Well over a hundred shuttle flights will operate between the neighbours — Qatar is small and has limited accommodation. Saudi Arabia is operating multiple entry visas for World Cup ticket holders. Indian citizens will no longer require police clearance certificates to get a visa for Saudi Arabia. Egypt will allow Hayya cardholders to enter the country; there is no need to pay visa fees. And Fifa has announced flights from Israel to Qatar saying, "With this deal Israelis and Palestinians will be able to fly together and enjoy football together." Iranian fans are also expected to attend. The last time the world rallied together was when the pandemic was raging, in order to come up with a vaccine.