Football: will the 2022 World Cup in Qatar really be “a disaster”?

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Lack of water, broken air conditioning, difficulties in finding accommodation, ticket prices… all the warning signs were red in April when Qatar opened the ticket office for its FIFA World Cup. The test match organized on September 9 in front of 77,575 Qatari fans turned into a fiasco. And yet, all is not so negative according to Yannick Vanhée, president of the Les Corsaires supporters club, who already has his places reserved for the first 15 days. Explanations.

#BoycottQatar2022. The little hashtag that is rising, rising, rising, in this month of September, will it take the 2022 World Cup the wrong way? Just two months before the kick off of Qatar Ecuador, the first match of the first World Cup organized in the Arabian Peninsula, football fans are starting to have cold sweats. Will calls for a boycott spoil the party?

Mind you, the 77,575 spectators who attended the test match between Al Hilal and Zamalek would have liked to have had a cold sweat on 9 September. This might have refreshed them in the stands of the Stade de Lusail which will host the World Cup final on December 18. It was not until the revelations of the Dutch daily Het Laatste Nieuws, Sunday, to discover that the public had run out of drinking water when the thermometer showed 34°C 10 days ago. The straw for many spectators already scalded by the humid air and a faulty air conditioning. Those who decided to leave the stadium at half-time were at their expense, forming a 2.5 kilometer long line at the entrance to the nearest metro. There were not enough frames for everyone. Something to annoy this Egyptian supporter who came to scout and confident to anyone who wanted to hear it: “I no longer want to go to the World Cup. Not in these conditions, at least! »

Since then, the organizers have been rowing, citing this life-size test to affirm their desire to “identify all operational problems and learn lessons that can be applied to help Qatar offer a great experience to everyone”.

4,000 French supporters expected in Qatar

Contrary to ambient calls for a boycott, Yannick Vanhée has decided to trust them. For months now, the president of the supporters’ club, known as “Les Corsaires”, has booked his vacation to attend the three matches of the first round, France Australia in the lead on November 22. Cost: 62 euros per game. “Compared to a Mylène Farmer concert, it’s fine,” smiles Yannick. He will make the trip with about fifteen supporters of the Dunkirk section. “The French will form the fourth contingent of foreign supporters in Qatar”, welcomes this football fan who takes care of the security of the beaches for an intercommunity in the North of France when he is not encouraging his favorite players in the stadiums. 4000 French confident for the reigning World Champions. Besides, Yannick already has his ticket for the 8are of final. And he plans to make a second trip to Qatar if the Blues reach the semis or the final.

“The cheapest World Cup we have known for fans”

“I wouldn’t have said the same thing to you a few months ago if you had asked me at the beginning of April. There was a big lack of visibility on reservations. We were asked to take tickets for matches without knowing if we would have accommodation. And accommodation was a condition of entry to Qatar. The cat biting its tail, what. As an official supporters club, we are privileged by the FFF. We took the risk of booking. And finally, we found a house at 80 euros per person per night, 6 km from Doha If I stay on my passion, the foot, without any other political consideration, it will probably be the cheapest World Cup we have known to fans, knowing that Qatar has blocked everything. A match is three nights there. But all the stadiums are within a radius of 50 km. No need to fly between two stadiums like in Russia or in Brazil. And all transport is free for the duration of the competition. P com me of air travel in the country during the Cup, it saves money, for us and for the environment.”

“More expensive to fly to go from one stadium to another as in 2026”

So Yannick does not really understand the controversy. “Air conditioning in the stadiums is unacceptable. But why did you authorize it? I saw what happened for the test match. But in November, the temperature is 25 to 27° in Qatar; or So we are being lied to about the climate. Can someone tell me how many degrees was played in the France Germany quarter-final at the Rio Maracana in 2014? I’ll tell you, 35-36° And we played France Ireland at Euro 2016 by 38° C. It was huge! Now it’s too late to talk about it. Or, we also have to talk about the 2026 World Cup organized by three countries; what will it cost in CO2 to fly from Canada to Mexico, passing through United States ?”

The cost now. “Yes, tickets have increased by 15% in the final stages. But inflation is everywhere now,” replies Yannick, who did the accounts for his first fifteen days of the World Cup: “1050€ for the plane, €1,000 accommodation and €300 tickets for 4 matches Compared to the €6,000 loan for the World Cup in Brazil, he considers himself lucky.

A probable political cost for Qatar

There remain the political considerations on which he does not want to comment. This is where the real cost to the Qatari emirate may well lie. The construction of ephemeral stadiums, one of which – made up of modular elements – will even be dismantled after the World Cup; the air-conditioned enclosures, the 6,500 immigrant workers who died on the construction sites; workers’ rights not respected; the suspicions of corruption on the very attribution of the Mondial…

All of this fuels calls for a boycott from personalities as diverse as ex-footballer Éric Cantona, actor Vincent Lindon and even insoumise deputy La France Alexis Corbière. Will these appeals be followed up? Beyond the sporting aspect, the answer to this question will determine the success or failure of the 2022 World Cup.

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