May 18, 2024

Security in the World Cup: Foreign police forces in place in Qatar

Security in the World Cup: Foreign police forces in place in Qatar

Updated 10/21/2022 at 9:43 PM

  • During the FIFA World Cup, foreign police officers will be deployed in addition to the security forces of the host country.
  • In Germany, the actions of the World Cup organizers and the planned involvement of German police did not lead to a far-reaching debate – elsewhere they have.

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In the context of his role as Chief of Security world Cup of football in Qatar Helmut Spahn recently announced that foreign police forces will also be present during the four-week major event. “We have police delegations from all 32 countries on site to provide support and make a communication impact on the fan groups involved,” Spahn said in an interview with Frankfurter Rundschau.

In May, a two-day conference was held in the Qatari capital of Doha, which resulted in the plan cited by Spahn to deploy foreign police forces and establish an “International Police Cooperation Centre”. In this country, this news did not receive any applause or outcry. Elsewhere, trends have begun about deploying their own police force.

France sends emergency services

The French Interior Ministry announced a show at the beginning of October that it was almost 220 gendarmerie and police forces will be sent to Qatar He was responding to a report in the well-known satirical magazine “Le Canard enchaîné”. in France since then UEFA Champions League Final In Paris in May, the actions of the security forces under a magnifying glass. Chaotic footage at the Stade de France and the use of tear gas and pepper spray against families caused an internal political crisis in the summer. “Has anyone thought of showing the Qataris the Champions League final footage?” asked Sofoot Football magazine.

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But not everything can be commented arrogantly. The security partnership agreed between France and Qatar sparked a heated debate in the National Assembly in Paris in August. It was reported in “Le Canard enchaîné” that there will be no women among the emergency services deployed in Qatar – a reference to the oppressive situation experienced by women in the World Cup host country. The French Ministry of the Interior, in turn, indirectly denied this claim, declaring that among 220 female guards were female security guards.

Eight German officials in Qatar

what about Germany? The Central Information Center for Sports Operations (ZIS) of the North Rhine-Westphalia State Police reported, upon request, that a German police delegation headed by ZIS comprising eight officers will be deployed in Qatar. An administrative agreement between the Federal Republic and the Emirate of Qatar constitutes the basis for cooperation. In addition, the German police delegation will be available during the World Cup as a point of contact for German fans who will accompany the German national team to the tournament.

“The German police delegation will not have executive powers in Qatar, but it will be available to the security authorities of the host country in an advisory capacity in case of possible disturbances due to German spectators,” the ministry said. In principle, visitors to the World Cup have to obey the laws of Qatar, which the US Embassy in Doha referred to again recently.

There may be Iranian and Saudi police officers

However, according to the briefing already received by foreign police authorities, the Qatari regulators do not want to pass every law in minute detail. Minor infractions such as taking off a shirt in public should not be punished immediately, but police forces are encouraged to require fans to follow the rules first.

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In this context, communication between security personnel and fans in their mother tongue and taking into account national characteristics appears beneficial and can, at best, be more calming than if Qatari police officers communicate only with World Cup visitors. But: Part of the organizers’ plan is inevitably that countries participating in the World Cup such as Saudi Arabia or Iran, Qatar’s strategic partner, or at least they should send their own forces.

The military of NATO member states in action

In addition to the use of police forces, the main event is also secured by military units. According to a report by Reuters news agency, the Qatari security concept stipulates the recall of civilians for military service and the return of members of the diplomatic corps to the country. In addition, a cooperation agreement with NATO was signed in 2021.

The UK has pledged to send units from the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force to help fight terrorism. The United States also provides military support. For its part, Turkey decided to provide 250 soldiers and a small warship to Qatar for a period of six months. These forces are in addition to the 3,000 police officers specialized in crowd control and riot control (CRC) that Ankara promised to host the World Cup some time ago.

2018 memories

By the way, neither the Turkish national football team participates in the World Cup, nor the Pakistani national team. However, Qatar will also offer Qatar its soldiers, although it is not yet clear to what extent Pakistani forces will actually be required. The concrete design of the World Cup security concept is still a pinata, at least for foreigners and therefore football fans as well.

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The opaque communication is reminiscent of the weeks and months leading up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and does not raise any concerns about Qatar.

Sources used:

  • “France contributes officers to the security of the World Cup in Qatar, amid calls for a boycott”
  • “Morocco lends police and spies to help Qatar manage security for the 2022 World Cup”
  • “Turkey sends 3,000 police to Qatar to help secure the World Cup”
  • “Qatar plans World Cup fans to avoid prosecution for petty crimes”
  • The Sports Operations Central Information Center replied on October 19, 2022