World Cup 2022: Migrant workers are laboring through the night near the World Cup clock, which will begin counting down 200 days until the tournament begins on Thursday, with hosts Qatar facing rising complaints about expenses and spectator conditions.
The tournament will begin on November 21 with eight gleaming, air-conditioned stadiums, yet every night, the army of South Asian laborers who support Qatar’s energy-rich economy swarm over unfinished roads and construction sites throughout Doha.
Organizers straddle the challenge of hosting an anticipated 1.4 million fans seeking entertainment and drink in the tiny, devout Islamic state while dozens of massive cranes tower above the capital’s skyscrapers.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has promised the “greatest ever” World Cup, and a FIFA official told AFP that Qatar’s infrastructure package had “impressed” the world body.
Many fans, though, are concerned about the cost of travel and lodging for the Qatar World Cup 2022, which is the first to be held in an Arab country.
Human rights have been a recurrent topic of discussion in Qatar, particularly in relation to the tens of thousands of migrant laborers who helped build infrastructure for the World Cup. Qatar claims to have eliminated abusive practices and implemented changes, including a minimum wage.
However, Ronan Evain, the chairman of the lobbying group Football Supporters Europe, indicated that fans’ biggest worries were transportation and bedding.
“This is the most logistically challenging World Cup in recent history,” he told AFP. “Fans are seeing prices rise and are unsure when they will end.”
As prices rise in the aftermath of Covid, return flights from Madrid to Doha have already topped $1,680, nearly three times the cost in 2021.
Many fans are still unsure if they have match tickets, which are on average a third more expensive than in 2018, and they are unable to book accommodations on the official website without a seat number.
There will be 130,000 rooms in hotels, apartments, cruise ships, and desert camps, according to Qatar. It has advertised shared rooms as little as $85 a night.
It’s a nightmare getting information.’
Many of the 32 competing countries’ ambassadors have expressed worry to AFP about a lack of knowledge on matters ranging from alcohol to the treatment of the LGBT community in Qatar, where homosexuality is prohibited and alcohol is confined to mostly non-Muslims.
“The concrete and steel are not a problem,” one ambassador added, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “However, they are not providing enough information about how it will all be regulated. Meetings are held, but no details are provided.”
“Getting information from the organizing committee is a nightmare,” said Fabien Bonnel, a representative for the largest French supporters group, Irresistibles Francais. He projected that there will be fewer French spectators than in past championships.
Before previous World Cups, there was a lot of criticism about stadiums not being ready, but 2022 will be different, according to Danyel Reiche, a Georgetown University Qatar professor and author of “Qatar and the FIFA World Cup in 2022 Change, Politics, and Controversy “..
“There are a lot of signs that this will be a fantastic World Cup,” Reiche added.
“The problem is to cater to the needs of Western fans who are accustomed to drinking alcohol while watching matches while still respecting local customs.
“To respect both views, pragmatic compromises must be made.”
FIFA and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the organizers of the Qatar World Cup, have attempted to reassure supporters regarding accommodations, rights, and drinking.
According to organizational sources, alcohol will likely be supplied at a discounted price of roughly $6.25 per beer in fan zones and designated places near stadiums, as it did during the 2019 Club World Cup and last year’s Formula One race in Qatar.
“Alcohol use in public is prohibited in many nations. Qatar is no exception, requesting that fans respect the country’s conservative culture “According to a representative for the Supreme Committee,
Drunkenness will be dealt with “reasonably and sensitively.”
FIFA said it had emphasized to Qatar its “unambiguous” stance on human and LGBTQ rights.
According to the spokesperson, FIFA insisted that law enforcement around the World Cup be “non-discriminatory, strictly essential, and proportionate,” which included permitting lesbian-gay-transgender-queer emblems and colors to be shown inside and outside stadiums.
“Flags with rainbow and other sexual identity colors are permitted at all FIFA events and have been seen at past FIFA championships in Qatar.
“FIFA is certain that all essential precautions will be taken to ensure that LGBTIQ+ fans and supporters can enjoy the event in the same welcome and safe environment as everyone else.”