Migrant labourers are working by the night time close to the World Cup clock that can begin counting down 200 days to kick-off on Thursday, with hosts Qatar dealing with mounting questions over prices and circumstances for followers.
Eight shiny, air-conditioned stadiums are prepared for the match’s begin on November 21, however each night time the military of South Asian employees who underpin Qatar’s energy-rich financial system swarm over unfinished roads and constructing websites round Doha.
Dozens of gigantic cranes tower over the capital’s skyscrapers whereas organisers juggle with the dilemma of welcoming an estimated 1.4 million followers wanting leisure and alcohol within the tiny, conservative Islamic state.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has promised the “greatest ever” World Cup and a FIFA spokesperson informed AFP that the worldwide physique had been “impressed” by Qatar’s infrastructure programme.
However many followers fear about the price of journey and lodging for the Qatar World Cup, the primary in an Arab nation.
Qatar has confronted frequent questions on human rights, together with for the tens 1000’s of migrant employees who constructed infrastructure across the World Cup. Qatar says it has cracked down on abusive practises and launched reforms, together with a minimal wage.
However Ronan Evain, head of Soccer Supporters Europe, a lobbying group, mentioned transport and beds have been followers’ foremost issues.
“That is essentially the most sophisticated World Cup of the fashionable period for logistics,” he informed AFP. “Followers see costs rising and don’t know when it should cease.”
As costs soar post-Covid, Madrid-Doha return air tickets in November have already reached greater than $1,680, nearly 3 times the price in 2021.
Many followers nonetheless have no idea if they’ve match tickets — that are a 3rd dearer on common than for 2018 — they usually can’t e-book lodging on the official web site with out a seat quantity.
Qatar says there will likely be 130,000 rooms in inns, flats, cruise ships and desert camps. It has promised shared rooms for as little as $85 an evening.
– ‘Getting data is a nightmare’ –
Ambassadors from lots of the 32 competing nations have informed AFP of their issues over the lack of understanding about points starting from alcohol to the remedy of gays in Qatar, the place homosexuality is prohibited and alcohol is restricted to primarily overseas non-Muslims.
“There isn’t a downside with the concrete and metal,” mentioned one ambassador, talking on situation of anonymity. “However they aren’t telling us sufficient about the way it will all be policed. There are conferences however no element.”
“Getting data from the organising committee is a nightmare,” mentioned Fabien Bonnel, a spokesperson for Irresistibles Francais, the most important French supporters affiliation. He predicted fewer French followers than earlier tournaments.
Earlier than different World Cups the speak was usually about stadiums not being prepared however 2022 is totally different, mentioned Danyel Reiche, a professor at Georgetown College Qatar and creator of “Qatar and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Politics, Controversy, Change”.
“There are various indicators that this will likely be a superb World Cup,” mentioned Reiche.
“The problem right here is to satisfy the wants of Western followers who’re used to consuming alcohol while watching matches while respecting native tradition.
“Pragmatic compromises must be discovered to respect either side.”
FIFA and the Qatar organisers, the Supreme Committee for Supply and Legacy, have sought to reassure followers about lodging, rights and ingesting.
Alcohol is more likely to be offered at fan zones and particular areas close to stadiums at a subsidised worth of about $6.25 a beer, because it was through the 2019 Membership World Cup and final yr’s Components One race in Qatar, organising sources mentioned.
“Many nations have restrictions on the general public consumption of alcohol. Qatar is not any totally different and easily asks followers to respect the nation’s conservative tradition,” mentioned a Supreme Committee spokesperson.
Drunkenness will likely be dealt with “in a smart and delicate method”.
FIFA mentioned it had confused its “unequivocal” stand on human and homosexual rights to Qatar.
FIFA had insisted that regulation enforcement across the World Cup be “non-discriminatory, and strictly vital and proportionate” together with permitting lesbian-gay-transgender symbols and colors inside and outdoors stadiums, mentioned the spokesperson.
“Rainbow and different sexual id colors on flags are allowed at any FIFA competitors and have been displayed at earlier FIFA tournaments in Qatar.
“FIFA is assured that every one vital measures will likely be in place for LGBTIQ+ followers and allies to benefit from the match in a welcoming and protected setting, simply as everybody else.”
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