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Qatar's ground control on alert for World Cup disasters

Ready for lift off: The Aspire control and command centre will monitor stadiums at the World Cup
— Doha (AFP)

Facing a bank of screens that look like NASA mission command, technicians counting down to the World Cup in Qatar control the temperature, gates, 15,000 cameras and much more in the eight stadiums.

The Aspire control and command centre will monitor all stadiums at once, as Qatar pulls out all the technical stops to keep an eye on the anticipated one million plus visitors from the moment they get off the plane to moment they leave.

Qatar has spent billions of dollars on building seven new stadiums and refurbishing an eighth for the first World Cup in an Arab country. It has seized on the uniquely short distance between them -- barely 70 kilometres (43 miles) separate the two most distant venues -- to set up the elaborate virtual network.

Organisers say the control centre, bristling with alarms and sensors, will set a benchmark for global sports events which must guard against terrorism, natural disasters and hooligans, as well as leaking water pipes.

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