The state of Qatar is pushing for mandatory Covid vaccinations for players ahead of the FIFA World Cup it will host next year, according to a report.
The Gulf country has already announced that fans attending the tournament, which starts in November 2022, will need to be fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
In June this year, Prime Minister Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani announced that he was attempting to secure an extra one million doses in order to immunize fans.
Qatar has already administered more than 4.6 million vaccines, which is enough to have around 82 percent of its 2.8 million population fully vaccinated and is among the world’s highest rates.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has begun administering Covid-19 vaccine booster shots. Dr Abdullah Al-Kubaisi, former President of Qatar University, and first Qatari citizen to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, received the third booster dose today.#Qatar#BoosterShotspic.twitter.com/JDznU0hFF1
— Gulf-Times (@GulfTimes_QATAR) September 15, 2021
Given its densely populated nature, vaccinations are seen as important due to the potential impact an outbreak of Covid could have on tourism and Qatar’s international reputation.
Qatar harbors the same position towards players participating in the World Cup, according to The Athletic – and that could put stars who are reluctant to be jabbed in a bind.
The move could effectively provide players and staff with an ultimatum of staying at home or becoming fully vaccinated in order to be able to head to the Middle East to represent their country’s in football’s most prestigious international tournament.
This will be interesting. You can get the plebs to do as they are told but you might struggle with millionaires.
— Anthonyneo (@_anthonyneo) September 20, 2021
I’m in favour of being vaccinated & think those at risk or over 30 should have it, but it should never be forced on people. I’m against vaccine passports or mandatory vaccination. The Qatar World Cup should’ve been boycotted a long time ago anyway.
— Gav (@Gavlar_LFC) September 20, 2021
Talks are reportedly taking place between stakeholders such as FIFA and local medical authorities regarding an amicable solution that would reduce the risk of the showpiece competition deprived of its biggest players.
Different options are said to be on the table, including alternatives such as players being required to return negative tests every three days. Exemptions have also been drawn up in draft protocols even though they are yet to be ratified.
The Arab Cup, which kicks off in Qatar on November 30, is being used as a test event for the 2022 World Cup, with fans needing to be doubled-jabbed to attend – although players aren’t subjected to the same requirements.
How about we just don’t have it there then? 🤷🏻♂️
— Kev_AFC (@Kev_AFC) September 20, 2021
Tell them to allow human rights. No I’m not talking about the vaccine
— Alfie_thfc69 (@AlfieThfc69) September 20, 2021
A FIFA spokesman told the outlet: “In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Qatar, as the host country, will provide the safeguards required to protect the health and safety of all involved in the competition.
“All attendees must follow the travel advice from the Qatari authorities and the latest guidance from the Ministry of Public Health.
“Full information on Covid-19 safety measures will be communicated to all client groups as we approach the competition.”