While millions of fans around the world will tune in to watch the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, those attending matches in person will themselves be watched by 15,000 CCTV cameras equipped with facial recognition technology. Fans seeking access to World Cup events will also require a digital identity document, which must include a passport scan and high-resolution facial image.
Drone technology will also be deployed as part of the monitoring regiment.
The security measures function through a command and control centre, described by the events chief technology supervisor, Niyas Abdulrahiman, as “a new standard, a new trend in venue operations, this is our contribution from Qatar to the world of sport.”
“What you see here is the future of stadium operations,” Abdulrahiman said, per France24.
The event is expected to draw around a million visitors to Qatar, all of which will be monitored “from the moment they get off the plane to moment they leave,” France24 reports. Security in the Arab nation will be bolstered by 3,000 Turkish police. Small detachments of local police from the 32 participating countries will shadow their nations supporters.
In the control centre, workers will monitor crowds in addition to keeping a lookout for congestion at ticket gates or breakdowns in technology like air conditioning. Another command centre operated by Qatar's interior ministry will monitor streets, busses and trains.
According to Biometric Update, Huawei will provide the network and IT infrastructure provider for the tournament, which includes 5G, augmented reality, virtual reality and video technology designed to improve fan experience. An industry source, Biometric Update said, revealed that the Chinese telecom giant is also the system integrator for facial recognition capabilities.
“As long as there is no property damage and no one injured, we will just be watching,” Hamad Al-Mohannadi, the director of the command centre, said.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 kicks off on November 21 with three matches, including Senegal squaring off against the Netherlands, England lining up against Iran and hosts Qatar concluding the day in a match against Ecuador. The tournament wraps up on December 18 at Qatar's Lusail Stadium.
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