The 2022 World Cup will start on November 20 in Qatar and will end on December 18 in Doha. With 100 days to go before the opening ceremony and the opening match, RMC Sport details the route that awaits fans during the competition.
A closed country during the World Cup
Most of the countries that host an international event take the opportunity to try to attract tourists from all over the world. But with a total area of 11,571 km² (France’s is 543,940 km²), Qatar have chosen to do things differently for their World Cup. It’s simple, access to Qatari territory will not be authorized for people who do not have a ticket or accreditation for a World Cup match.
To visit Qatar during the tournament, a family must, for example, ensure that all its members have a place to meet. A member of this family does not have a ticket, access to the territory will be prohibited according to the elements confirmed to RMC Sport by the organizers. The tickets purchased by the fans are all linked to the information of the buyers with their hotel and their Fan ID. A control that allows managing the number of foreigners in the territory during the 28 days of competition.
Speaking to the microphone of RMC Sport, a France national team supporter shared his joy and his eagerness to discover Qatar… although he fears he has quickly got around it on the fringes of the Blues’ three group stage matches.
“Today everything is closed. We have match tickets, accommodation, even if it was complicated, everything is closed and the tickets are reserved. We just want to leave,” slides Yannick Vanhee, who will attend his seventh World Cup. [Un Mondial différent ?] Yes, because there is not much to do in the country anymore. We will try to go to nearby countries. The aspect of alcohol is on public roads. At home we will have everything we need, we will have barbecues with friends, we will have an aperitif.
Alcohol allowed only in certain areas
Like this fan of the France team, many supporters expressed their concern at the idea of not being able to drink alcohol during the World Cup in Qatar to respect the Islamic law in force in the country. To get away with this hot file, the authorities have shown some flexibility. It is certain that fans will be able to consume alcohol in the country, but not just anywhere and certainly not on the streets of Doha.
Alcohol will be available in hotel bars and restaurants, as well as fan zones set up across the country “to respect Qatari culture and traditions.” In 2019, during the Doha Club World Cup with almost 45,000 fans, alcoholic beverages were available at an average price of €6.20 per drink in the fan zones. The Supreme Committee is still working with FIFA and all stakeholders on solutions that guarantee supply for all. Some elements remain awaiting confirmation in the coming weeks.
“Decent” attire is required but no veil is imposed
The Qatari authorities should be more conciliatory with the fans during the World Cup than with its inhabitants the rest of the year. But if the current law in the country does not impose a strict dress code, there are government “guidelines” related to “common decency”.
Standards that may therefore be undermined by the massive influx of international fans who are used to dressing as they see fit.
Clearly, barring a bad surprise or over-enthusiasm, it will be possible to wear a tight tank top or crop top if you go to Qatar.
Similarly, and contrary to a cliché that persists in states where Islamic law reigns, the wearing of the veil is not compulsory for women in Qatar. For those who doubted it, the recent Peru-Australia and Costa Rica-New Zealand intercontinental dams were a good reminder of this.
Sexual relations will not be supervised.
Among the other concerns of supporters, sex outside of marriage has sparked a lively controversy in recent months. But quickly, the organizers launched firefights to calm things down.
Certainly, in Qatari law, it is written that two single people have no right to sleep together and then they risk 7 years in prison.
But the reality is very different. The authorities repeat this phrase over and over again: “In November, come as you are.” Asked about it by RMC Sport during 2022, most of the inhabitants of the capital have the same reaction: they take out their mobile phone to show the dating applications.
A test, according to them, of the opening of the country and the progressive change of mentalities. “We are not going to come and open your room and lift the duvet,” confesses a hotel receptionist in Doha. For its part, FIFA ensures that Qatar “will respect the privacy” of fans. The country, which wants to ride the World Cup wave to become a tourist destination in the Middle East, knows that it is forbidden to make mistakes during this 2022 World Cup.
LGBTQ+ supporters are welcome, not their demands
Like Australian Josh Cavallo, who has become a symbol of the LGBTQ+ cause in sports after coming out, some gay men have shared their concern about going to Qatar. If homosexuality is a crime punishable by imprisonment. But here again, the Gulf country could take advantage of the World Cup to show more tolerance.
Nasser al-Khater, the director of Qatar 2022, went on to state that the small emirate “is committed to ensuring that the tournament is open to all, regardless of religion, race, gender and sexual orientation.”
Asked by the Associated Press in early April, Qatar 2022 security chief General Abdullah al-Ansari spoke about the promotion of non-normative sexual orientations and gender identities during the World Cup.
“If a fan waves a rainbow flag in a stadium and it is taken away, it will not be because we want to offend him, but to protect him,” he said. If we don’t, another viewer could attack him. If you want to express your point of view about the LGBT cause, do it in a society where it is accepted. […] but do not come to insult an entire society with that”.
130,000 homes expected in Qatar
Finally, and this is undoubtedly the main problem that the organizers have to solve: how to accommodate tens or even hundreds of thousands of fans during the World Cup. With 100 days to go before the opening of the World Cup, there are already 100,000 seats available to accommodate fans from all over the world. A total that should reach 130,000 places for the start of the competition in November according to the elements presented by the Supreme Committee to RMC Sport.
“The problem with this World Cup is that there is very little communication. People was scared. The sale of tickets for the games took place in April and people did not know if they were going to be able to stay”, explained Yannick Vanhee, who made the trip to support the Blues in Qatar. That is why many people have thrown in the towel when we have managed have almost normal prices. Qatar has blocked prices so that we don’t go so badly. They are 80 euros per person per night. “
In addition to the hotels, fans will be able to sleep in single steel beds in the studios, while others will be entitled to ultra-modern tents in the desert. Supporters, the richest will be able to book luxury villas or a room on an ocean liner. Accommodation offers range from approximately $84 (€76) to $1,000 (€900) per night.
To better digest the flow of fans during the World Cup, Qatar wants above all to rely on its neighbors to increase its hotel capacity. More than 150 daily connections with neighboring countries. It remains to be seen whether football fans will be ready to stay just a few days there, in a World Cup atmosphere, before heading elsewhere. A true change of habits.
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