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Olympic Games in COVID-19 times: lessons learned with special focus on the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
  1. Ismail Dergaa1,
  2. Helmi Ben Saad2,3,
  3. Amine Souissi4,
  4. Sarah Musa1,
  5. Mariam Ali Abdulmalik1,
  6. Karim Chamari5,6
  1. 1 Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), Doha, Qatar
  2. 2 Farhat HACHED Hospital, University of Sousse, Faculty of Medicine of Sousse, Sousse, Tunisia
  3. 3 Laboratoire de Recherche (LR12SP09) 'Insuffisance Cardiaque', Université de Sousse Faculté de Médecine de Sousse, Sousse, Tunisia
  4. 4 Physical activity, Sport, and health, UR18JS01, National Observatory of Sports, Tunis, Tunisia
  5. 5 Aspetar, Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, Doha, Qatar
  6. 6 ISSEP Ksar-Saïd, Manouba University, Mannouba, Tunisia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ismail Dergaa, Primary Health Care Corporation, Doha, Qatar; phd.dergaa{at}

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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the global international sports calendar, causing the first-ever postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games (OG) and Paralympic Games (PG) until 2021.1 Several scientists and sports organisations were strongly opposed to the organisation of these OG and PG.2 3 Variable vaccination rates, waning immunity and the emergence of more transmissible and potentially lethal COVID-19 strains have created additional challenges to hosting large-scale international sporting events.4

Contrary to the 2020 Tokyo Games, which were held without fans, another mega event, the FIFA World Cup 2022, will be held in Qatar (21 November–18 December) with over 1.7 million expected visitors (fans, staff, players and media).5

FIFA World Cup 2022 Challenges

We believe the organisation and public health prevention policies adopted during the Tokyo OG/PG were appropriate, with some understandable gaps and lessons learnt related to big events to be revised and optimised. Comparisons between public health policies implemented in Japan and those contemplated for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar are summarised in table 1. In contrast to the fan-free Japan OG, which hosted around 118 000 visitors over 29 days (ie, around 0.5% of the country’s …

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  • Twitter @IDergaa, @HHHMMBENSAAD, @ProfChamari

  • Contributors Conceptualisation, review and editing: ID, KC and HBS; drafting, preparation and writing of the manuscript: ID, HBS, AS, SM, MAA and KC. All authors read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.