The World Cup in Qatar is set to get underway on Sunday as the host nation go head-to-head with Ecuador. But just hours ahead of the tournament’s curtain-raiser, a large official fan village, which is due to house England and Wales fans throughout the next few weeks, still looks like a building site.
According to the Guardian, The Rawdat Al Jahhaniya accommodation base had abandoned forklift trucks and a digger on it next to hundreds of sea containers on Thursday and Friday. The accommodation base, which opened on Friday, is located next to the Ahmad bin Ali stadium, where Wales are due to open their World Cup campaign against the USA on Monday. And a cabin for two costs a whopping £172 per night.
On the FIFA website, a tennis court and cinema screen have been promised as part of the facilities at the base. But those two promises appear to have been broken as there was no sign of either according to the report. And a fitness centre/gym listed as part of the amenities consisted of a few pieces of outdoor equipment near the road.
The site was full of sand and rubble, while a giant crater lay next to a tent that will serve as a mosque throughout the tournament in pictures published by the newspaper.
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The World Cup has been shrouded in controversy since Qatar were announced as hosts in 2010. The Middle East country didn’t possess any stadiums at the time, with migrant workers being drafted in to help build them.
Qatar has come under fire for their human rights, their treatment of migrant workers and their stance on same-sex relationships. But FIFA president Gianni Infantino defended the decision to host the tournament in the country on Saturday.
He said: “It is not easy to take the critics of a decision that was made 12 years ago. Qatar 2022 is ready, it will be the best FIFA World Cup ever. I am European. For what we have been doing for 3000 years around the world, we should be apologising for the next 3000 years before giving moral lessons.
“I don’t have to defend Qatar, they can defend themselves. I defend football. If Europe really care about the destiny of these people, they can create legal channels – like Qatar did – where a number of these workers can come to Europe to work. Give them some future, some hope.
“This one-sided moral lesson is just hypocrisy. I wonder why no one recognises the progress made here since 2016. I have difficulties understanding the criticism. We have to invest in helping these people, in education and to give them a better future and more hope. We should all educate ourselves – many things are not perfect, but reform and change takes time.”