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

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

#BoycottQatar2022. The little hashtag that goes up, up, up, this September, will the 2022 World Cup get off on the wrong foot? Just two months before the start of Qatar Ecuador, the first match of the first World Cup organized in the Arabian Peninsula, football fans have started to break a cold sweat. Will the boycott calls harm the party?

Imagine, the 77,575 spectators who attended the test match between Al Hilal and Zamalek would have wanted to have a cold sweat on 9 September. This may invigorate them in the stands of the Stade de Lusail which will host the final of the World Cup on December 18. Until the revelations of the Dutch daily Het Laatste Nieuws, Sunday, it is known that the public has run out of water. drink when the thermometer shows 34 ° C 10 days ago. The straw for many spectators has been burnt by the humid air and a faulty air conditioning. Those who decide to leave the stadium in half an hour are at their expense, forming a 2.5 kilometer long line at the entrance to the nearest metro. There are not enough oars for everyone. Something that annoys this Egyptian supporter who came to scout and is confident of anyone who wants to hear it: “I don’t want to go to the World Cup anymore. Not in these conditions, at least!”

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

4,000 French supporters are expected in Qatar

Contrary to ambient calls for a boycott, Yannick Vanhée decided to trust them. Months have passed since the president of the supporters’ club known as “Les Corsaires” reserved his vacation to attend three matches in the first round, France Australia in the lead on November 22. Cost: 62 euros per game . “Compared to a Mylène Farmer concert, it’s good,” smiles Yannick. He will make the trip with about fifteen supporters of the Dunkirk section.

Yannick Vanhée, president of the supporters’ club “Les Corsaires” based in Dunkirk. / DR PHOTO

“The French will be 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 stadiums. 4000 French confident for the reigning World Champions. Besides, Yannick already has his ticket for 8the in the end. And he is seriously considering making a second trip to Qatar if the Blues reach the semis or the final.

“The cheapest World Cup we know for fans”

“I wouldn’t have told you the same thing a few months ago if you asked me at the beginning of April. There is a big lack of visibility in reservations. We are asked to get tickets for matches that don’t know if we want it. you have accommodation. And accommodation is a condition of entry to Qatar. The cat is biting its tail, what. As the official supporters club, we are privileged with the FFF. We took the risk of booking. And finally, we found a house for 80 euros per person per night, 6 km from Doha If I stick to my passion, football, without any political considerations, this is probably the cheapest World Cup we know of fans, knowing that Qatar has locked everything. A game is three nights there. But all the stadiums are within a radius of 50 km. There is no need to fly between two stadiums like in Russia or in Brazil and a All transportation is free for the duration of the competition. There is no air travel in the country during the Cup, it saves money, for us and for the environment.

“It will be more expensive to fly to go from one stadium to another as in 2026”

That’s why Yannick doesn’t really understand the controversy. “The air conditioning in the stadiums is unacceptable. But why do you allow it? I saw what happened for the test game. But in November, the temperature was 25 to 27 ° in Qatar; or so we were lied about climate. Can anyone tell me how many degrees France Germany quarter-final was played at the Maracana in Rio in 2014? I tell you, 35-36° And we played France Ireland in Euro 2016 in 38° C. It was huge. Now, it is too late to talk about it. Or else, we should also talk about the 2026 World Cup organized by three countries, what is the cost of CO2 to fly from Canada to Mexico, via the United States ?”

Yannick Vanhée estimates that 4,000 French supporters are in Qatar, including most expatriates working in the Arabian Peninsula.  / DR PHOTO

Yannick Vanhée estimates that 4,000 French supporters are in Qatar, including most expatriates working in the Arabian Peninsula. / DR PHOTO

The cost now. “Yes, the tickets increased by 15% in the last rounds. But inflation is everywhere now,” answered Yannick, who made the accounts of 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 credit for the World Cup in Brazil, he considers himself lucky.

A likely political cost for Qatar

There remain political considerations that he does not want to comment on. This is where the true cost of the Qatari emirate may 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 construction sites; workers’ rights are not respected; suspicions of corruption in the very recognition of Mondial…

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

Irrésistibles Français: “It’s less serious than we thought at first”

The association “Irrésistibles Français” brings the French football team the largest contingent of supporters: 1000 to 1500 depending on the year, they are 1300 so far in their subscription two months from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Anne Costes, the vice-president, traditionally handles reservations. But strangely, after experiencing three World Cups, in South Africa, Brazil and Russia, he will not travel to Qatar.

Anne Costes, vice-president of the supporters' club

Anne Costes, vice-president of the “Irrésistibles Français” fan club. / DR PHOTO

“I thought it was too complicated! As a result, we thought there would be a hundred members of our association who would attend at least one match in Qatar, compared to 650 in Russia. But I was in charge of the travel for those going there. And I have to say that, in the end, it’s not as bad as I feared six months ago. I found accommodation for 100 euros a night for two for the first round of games and the 8the. That makes an accommodation budget of 1500 euros for 15 nights, that’s right. But I know some who are on 200 euros per night, and others who have not found all their accommodation.

Another cause for concern, confirmed by the test match on September 9, is the question of transportation. “Six stadiums are accessible by metro, two by bus. Transportation is free, that’s good. But their metro, which is a bit like an RER, is a simple two-car train. It’s the size of a small country, but there they expect a million spectators. It’s not the size for a World Cup.”

In the controversy and boycott, Anne respected everyone’s will. He also said that “the members chose to boycott because of the question of human rights and ecological problems”. But he was also surprised: “Because it’s Qatar, it’s not good at all. But you shouldn’t have gone to Russia at that time, because human rights are there.. And a World Cup in three countries, in 2026, can it’s also travel. But everyone will be happy to go to the United States, Canada or Mexico where there are many things to visit between the matches only in Qatar. That’s why we let our members free. And we help those chose to go. What a shame in Qatar if they turn on the air conditioning in the stadiums if a priori, in November December, there is no need.

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