#sports Qatar World Cup reality... Booze bans, grim rooms for fans and Big Brother spy cams

#sports Qatar World Cup reality… Booze bans, grim rooms for fans and Big Brother spy cams

#sports activities Qatar World Cup actuality… Booze bans, grim rooms for fans and Big Brother spy cams

Harry Kane won’t ever have recognized projection prefer it — a 30ft picture of the England captain is wrapped round a glass skyscraper in central Doha.

It makes him a dominant a part of the visible panorama on the street to the World Cup media centre, the place each single pre-match press convention can be held through the match.

He’s not the one one. Luis Suarez, Luka Modric, Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane are among the many 13 gamers additionally ‘wrapped’ round buildings. One from every competing nation ought to comply with between now and November 20, if picture rights approval could be secured.

The World Cup and its stars are being paraded like by no means earlier than by a number nation. The gamers are pictured all over the place, as is the match slogan, ‘Now is all’. 

But behind the razzmatazz, how ready is that this tiny nation for an inflow of 1 million fans? And what is going to the expertise be like for supporters?

#sports Qatar World Cup reality... Booze bans, grim rooms for fans and Big Brother spy cams

Captain Harry Kane is the poster boy for England forward of the Qatar World Cup this winter

England supporters heading to Qatar are set for a differing experience to home life

England supporters heading to Qatar are set for a differing expertise to house life

Getting round

It’s World Cup fever from the second you board a Qatar Airways aircraft. Robert Lewandowski and Neymar characteristic within the on-board security video. The pillows state: ‘Football is passion.’

Hamad International Airport has a easy effectivity, with a Metro station at Terminal 2 linking the community’s pink line to central Doha. The Metro has stops inside a 10-minute stroll of 5 of the eight stadiums, together with Khalifa International, the place England begin towards Iran, and Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, the place Wales play all three group video games.

But beware leaping on the improper carriage: some are household and women-only. For the primary time, any fan with a ticket to a sport can journey the host nation’s Metro for free, by waving the all-important Hayya Card app — which should be secured to get visa entry to the nation and to matches. 

The Uber community is efficient, although provide can be severely examined. In an try and get site visitors off the regularly gridlocked roads, Qatar has designated the month of the match a faculty vacation.

Gareth Southgate's Three Lions will kick off their campaign against Iran on November 21

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions will kick off their marketing campaign towards Iran on November 21

Where to remain?

It’s a chaotic, last-minute race to make rooms obtainable and this a supply of actual concern to the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA). The essential motels in Doha have had 80 per cent of their rooms taken from them by FIFA, who’ve been advertising them. 

But a lot of hoteliers say that after they get the unsold ones again — on the finish of the month — their precedence can be their oil and gasoline trade clients, who set up their rig employees in them. 

Many of the most cost effective £70-a-night villa and residences have gone and although 20,000 extra rooms are anticipated to turn into obtainable within the subsequent few weeks, there’s a massive rush to get them completed in time.

There’s been an enormous demand for November 24 and 25, the early days of the match, so the FSA say anybody nonetheless seeking to ebook for your complete two weeks ought to take into account splitting bookings by shifting from location to location through the match. This may assist preserve prices down.

The Qataris have simply introduced that native individuals can be allowed to let loose their very own villas to worldwide fans. There’s little or no below £200 an evening on Airbnb. 

There are 20 properties on reserving.com for the primary three nights of the match. Many totally different contractors are constructing the services. That seems to be contributing to the challenges of getting a transparent image of what is going to be prepared and when. Qatar says there can be 100,000 rooms obtainable on anybody evening.

Tent life

A tented village, ‘Al Khor Camp’ which is without doubt one of the official lodging choices, was nonetheless below development when Sportsmail visited 10 days in the past and is being constructed out into the desert, on a dead-end street, 40 minutes north by automobile from central Doha.

We see sq. canvas dwellings that campers would stroll into, reasonably than Glastonbury-style tents. 

Security officers guard it fiercely however inform us that there can be beds within the tents, a communal swimming pool, fitness center, tennis courts and air con. Small picket meals kiosks are already constructed.

Much of the area that will be used for the World Cup in Qatar is still under construction

Much of the world that can be used for the World Cup in Qatar continues to be below development

One will promote Egyptian and Lebanese ‘koshari and falafel’. Another is the ‘Blue Mountain Cafe’. Qatar says 1,000 ‘Bedouin-style’ tents can be pitched. The most cost-effective being marketed at Al Khor is the ‘Deluxe King Tent for two’, which is spacious with wardrobes and a flat-screen TV however is a cool £365 an evening.

Fans must make their very own leisure up there and that received’t embody alcohol, although the advanced is constructed on the Al Farkiah seashore. It’s just a few miles from the Al Bayt stadium, the place England play USA. There can be to be a Caravan City, run by an organization known as Asco Trading.

…Or cabin fever

The tents actually look an ideal deal extra interesting than the ‘cabins’ that the World Cup organisers are providing. 

The artists’ impressions present communal areas however when Sportsmail visits the positioning — once more, very a lot nonetheless below development — we discover row upon row of soulless metallic buildings in shades of yellow, pink and turquoise on a desert website at Ras Bu Fontas contained in the ‘Free Zone’ off the airport street.

Soulless metal buildings are being advertised as cabins for fans that will stay in the country

Soulless metallic buildings are being marketed as cabins for fans that can keep within the nation

A hand-painted signal suggests it is going to be known as ‘The Al Wakra Camp’ nevertheless it’s extra like a PoW camp with huge numbers of 10-cabin blocks positioned in rows which run for 1 / 4 of a mile. 

The artists’ impressions present arches of topiary on the entry to the walkways between every row however this place, constructed out close to the primary Hamad International Airport, looks like a spot to get away from.

The cabins we noticed have been nonetheless shells, with a bed room and bathe. The beginning value of 740 Qatari Riyal (£176) appears loads for these rudimentary huts. 

It’s unclear, both via on-line photos or our investigations, whether or not the bathrooms are communal. It is assumed that 3,500 extra of those might come on-line by way of the official Qatar Accommodation Agency.

Life on the ocean?

Two cruise ships will arrive to accommodate fans in Doha Port. The MSC World Europa cruise ship, with its 1,900 cabins, is because of depart from France in October and can be joined by the MSC Poesia the next month.

 Between them, they’ll present 3,898 cabins, 45 bars and 10 eating services. They aren’t low-cost. Minimum value £530 an evening. But they do throw a buffet breakfast in.

It is assumed that there are plans to safe a 3rd cruise ship. The vessel is obtainable however there have been issues with the logistics of mooring it, which it’s hoped can be resolved. 

Many fans have determined to base themselves in Dubai. Argentina fans — all the time the life and soul — will arrive from South America on their very own cruise liner.

Construction is still taking place with the start of the tournament now just two months away

Construction continues to be happening with the beginning of the match now simply two months away

On the Waterfront

The better of Doha for fans is the attractive four-mile waterfront promenade, or Corniche, on the perimeter of the Arabian Sea, which is clearly being lined up as a significant congregating place.

It has been widened and landscaped, with a turquoise cycle observe put in. The race to get issues prepared is last-minute right here, too. It’s the Qatari manner. Workers had hosepipes turned on sections of brown, sun-parched grass once we visited. 

They have been additionally toiling to finish the duty of laying paving stones, setting lights into them, and ending underpasses linking the walkway with Doha’s historic Souk, with its slim walkways, market and eating places.

Temporary seating was being created within the Souk, too. This can be the place it’s anticipated that many Argentinians, Spaniards, Australians, English and Welsh can combine, eat and digest soccer. 

The glorious cheese and honey Qatari pancakes normally promote at £1.50 and Majboos (rooster curry and rice) for £5. Great, low-cost native delicacies however the Souk may be very small. It can be an excessive squeeze.

Simaisma will serve as a base camp for the Mexican team during the month-long tournament

Simaisma will function a base camp for the Mexican staff through the month-long match

Doha's beach area, which is four miles long, is being touted as one of the main attractions

Doha’s seashore space, which is 4 miles lengthy, is being touted as one of many essential points of interest 


Doha’s downside is that there’s not a lot tradition — or certainly a lot in any respect — on this largely barren moonscape. So they’re going to throw the kitchen sink at it and will borrow closely from Glastonbury.

They’ve recruited British pageant creators Arcadia, transport within the 50-tonne fire-breathing spider, produced from a decommissioned crane at Bristol’s Avonmouth docks, which has bewitched Glastonbury pageant goers for a decade now and was again in Somerset this summer time. There can be stay reveals and DJs.

But like a lot of the match backdrop, there are nonetheless only a few particulars. No one has introduced for how lengthy and at which period of the day the Glasto occasion will run. 

While areas of the country are impressive, others currently lack culture and character

While areas of the nation are spectacular, others at present lack tradition and character

But one well-placed supply means that this could be the one public place, aside from stadiums and the Fan Zone, the place alcohol can be obtainable — and that it might be licensed to take action from 10am to 5am. That’s unconfirmed. 

But this expertise, like a lot else, won’t come low-cost. It is assumed it may cost a little £75 a day to get in. Just eight weeks out, the worth has not been disclosed.

FIFA’s massive get together

The lack of area means they’re creating one massive Fan Zone — with a 40,000 capability — at Al Bidda Park, close to the Corniche. This is the place to be if you wish to take pleasure in a drink and watch a sport on the large screens, as long as you might have a style for Budweiser, the ever-present official beer accomplice.

They can be promoting it from 6.30pm till 1am there. Not nice if you wish to watch one of many each day 1pm and 4pm video games with a beer in your hand however FIFA have taken the view that sustaining a no-alcohol atmosphere for the primary two video games on the Fan Zone is suitable and respectful of a number nation during which many view alcohol with suspicion.

Beer was promoting for £5.50 a pint at a 2019 experimental Fan Zone for the Club World Cup. FIFA promise free live shows with worldwide stars. But there aren’t any names but.

Going on a beer hunt

Finding a beer is statistically soccer fans’ largest supply of concern about this World Cup. The Qatari state units the worth and a number of the 30 or so Western fashion motels which serve it imagine there could also be orders to carry the worth down from the present £12-£15 to round £8 pint. Very expensive.

The World Cup will not be cheap for football fans, with beer set to cost up to £8 per pint

The World Cup won’t be low-cost for soccer fans, with beer set to price as much as £8 per pint 

But the excellent news for fans is that a number of the motels — whose bars can be packed to the rafters — are offering outside ingesting areas. 

The Intercontinental Beach Hotel, the place the match’s referees are staying, is making a 1,500-capacity outside area for its Oktoberfest occasion and might preserve that obtainable for the World Cup.

The Radisson can be regarded as contemplating an out of doors area for 400 and a further space for 1,100. Qatar officers have been requested final week if pop-up off-licences will allow fans to purchase alcohol. They refused to say. But the reply is nearly actually no.


All eight are architectural masterpieces. The Qataris are planning to make them a spot for congregation. Once past each stadium’s safety checks and x-ray machines, on the ‘inner perimeter’ fans will be capable of purchase yet one more Budweiser for the three hours earlier than kick-off and for one hour afterwards.

Sportsmail’s entry to the stadium from Lusail Metro, two hours earlier than kick-off in a match between Egypt and Saudi Arabia’s membership champions, was easy and untroubled. 

A direct 25-minute stroll. But the warmth and humidity have been broiling inside and didn’t stay as much as what Qatar’s World Cup air con guru Dr Saud Abdulaziz Abdul Ghani, recognized domestically as ‘Dr Cool’, had promised.

The Lusail Stadium in DOHA will be the main stadium of the World Cup later this year

The Lusail Stadium in DOHA would be the essential stadium of the World Cup later this yr

The ground recently hosted the Lusail Super Cup between Zamalek and winner Al Hilal

The floor just lately hosted the Lusail Super Cup between Zamalek and winner Al Hilal

Many strange fans additionally discovered the expertise a dreadful one. The stadium stands have been out of water by half-time and there was none exterior, the place the late summer time temperature was 34°C (93°F), although it felt far hotter due to the humidity. 

There have been lengthy exit queues, with the stadium near its 80,000 capability. At least it can solely be 25°C in November.

All kicking off?

The Qatari safety forces doing a ceremonial stroll on camels when Sportsmail visited final week didn’t look the very best geared up to deal with something which may kick off earlier than England v Wales or USA v Iran. Qatari officers refused to inform us what number of officers can be assigned to video games.

Qatar is the one Gulf nation which permits non-nationals to do its policing, although on the Lusail Stadium’s opening sport there gave the impression to be totally different corporations operating safety, judging by their totally different uniforms, and no identifier to disclose who was really in authority. 

That may create an issue if, say, England and Wales fans had a distinction of opinion and certainly one of these males in uniform tried to make an arrest or eject somebody.

London was wrecked when England faced Italy in the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium

London was wrecked when England confronted Italy within the last of Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium

But there was sturdy liaison with abroad police. Mark Roberts, head of the UK Football Policing Unit, visited in August and RAF jets will patrol airways, as a part of a long-standing co-operation between Qatar and the UK.

The threat of hassle from England fans is definitely distant — merely because the match is simply too distant and too costly for them to journey within the sorts of numbers which noticed the open fights with Russia fans in Marseille at Euro 2016.

Crowd management

You solely should stroll round Qatar’s public areas to see that it’s a CCTV surveillance society. Rules are guidelines. One motorway signal warns of a ten,000 Qatari Riyal (£2,400) effective for littering.

There are cameras all alongside the Corniche. This has been prolonged into the way in which the match is being policed by way of a NASA-style management centre from which — for the primary time at a World Cup — all eight stadiums could be concurrently monitored by employees who can zoom in on a single fan or determine a storeroom door being left open.

There are 15,000 excessive decision cameras in each stadium and AI know-how means an alarm will sound if teams of fans transfer into a bit of a stadium the place they shouldn’t be. ‘We can clearly identify a fan and where there’s an undesired exercise, like individuals leaping on chairs,’ says Niyas Abulrahiman, the ability’s chief know-how officer.

It sounds very Big Brother, however the Qataris inform Sportsmail how their management centre viewing cameras at each stadium turnstile space and concourse implies that the chaos which beset the French safety companies ultimately May’s Champions League last can’t occur right here.

An alarm will sound if groups of fans move into a section of a stadium where they shouldn¿t be

An alarm will sound if teams of fans transfer into a bit of a stadium the place they shouldn’t be

When all is said and done, England will be hoping to win the tournament for the second time

When all is claimed and completed, England can be hoping to win the match for the second time

‘Our algorithms can predict how a crowd is forming and take corrective action to prevent it escalating into an uncontrolled situation,’ says Abulrahiman. ‘The Paris situation happened because there was a crowd control issue that went beyond their control. We are not going to be in that situation.’

On the brilliant aspect…

The secret is to not count on the same old soccer expertise. Fans who settle for this can be a non-drinking nation and {that a} drink is a much less outstanding characteristic really feel higher for it. But lodging is a fear.

‘Last-minute’ is the Qatari manner and it feels just like the in a single day expertise might not be nice for some.

But Qatar will throw cash at making this a celebration. This is a land of the British three-point plug. 

The service tradition amongst immigrant service sector employees is great. There would be the probability to see a number of video games within the compressed area. 

Some Welsh fans can be on the Morocco v Croatia sport. An England contingent are even planning to assist Denmark towards Australia. There’s all the time a silver lining.

Leave a Comment