Official Statement by the Ministry of Defence.
The UK Ministry of Defence has completed its support to Qatar’s security operations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, helping to ensure a safe and secure event for those attending and participating.
Armed Forces personnel and assets from all three British services – Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force – were deployed to support the Qatari Ministry of Defence’s counter-terrorism efforts during the competition. The security operation was known as Operation World Cup Shield.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
UK Armed Forces have worked side by side with our Qatari partners and other nations in the last few weeks to ensure everyone can enjoy a safe and secure World Cup.
Our relationship with Qatar has been strengthened further through this deployment, during which aircraft from our joint UK-Qatar Typhoon squadron demonstrated the true benefits of our partnership.
His Excellency Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, Deputy PM & Minister of State for Defence Affairs in Qatar, said:
The World Cup hosted by the State of Qatar was a great success in bringing people from all around the world to enjoy the beautiful game of football. To assure the safety and security of the State and the spectators of the game, Qatar relied on its network of allies and friends to come together in concert to provide the highest form of security and shield through its defence cooperation.
The strong and long-standing Qatari-UK defence partnership, which includes the joint Typhoon squadron, has played an essential role in safeguarding the State and the people during the events of the World Cup 2022.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) supported air security operations with 12 Squadron, the joint UK-Qatar Typhoon Squadron from RAF Coningsby, and a RAF Voyager from RAF Brize Norton.
12 Squadron operated eight Typhoon aircraft from Dukhan Air Base alongside Qatar Emiri Air Force fast jet squadrons, flying a total of 114 operational hours during the tournament. Flying from Al-Udeid Air Base, the RAF Voyager provided air-to-air refuelling capability to both RAF and QEAF fast jets during their security missions.
The Royal Navy supported maritime security by deploying their expeditionary Mine Countermeasures Force to the shores of Qatar. Led by RFA Cardigan Bay, the Command Ship for the task force, His Majesty’s Ships Chiddingfold and Bangor have conducted round-the-clock patrols of the sea lanes leading to the Gulf state, using state-of-the-art sonar and underwater remote-controlled devices to locate underwater contacts and ensure they are safe.
The UK defence support also included counter-IED advanced venue search training, operational planning support, command and control support, and further specialist advice.
Air Commodore Mark Biggadike, UK Forces Commander in Qatar for the World Cup, said:
Over two years of planning and engagement with the Qatari Ministry of Defence and six other partner nations has led to a very successful operation; of note, the first Joint operation that Qatar has conducted.
The UK is a leading nation in the provision of counter-terrorism military security and it has been my privilege to witness a team of over 500 UK service personnel providing specialist support from the land, sea and air during this event.
Security operations for the FIFA World Cup were overseen by Qatar Ministry of Defence. The UK’s contribution adds expertise and capability, in part gained through the UK’s Olympic Games experience in 2012.
It is a demonstration of our strong defence relationship and further enhances the UK and Qatar’s ability to tackle our shared security challenges – contributing to regional stability and protecting mutual prosperity and security.
Sources: THX News, Ministry of Defence & The UK Government.