With just over two months to go before the 2022 Qatar World Cup kicks off, several criticisms arose this week of the newest and largest venue in the country: the Lusail Stadium with a capacity for 80,000 spectators and whose construction cost some 767 million euros. Dollars.
The weekend hosted its first official match for the Lusail Super Cup between Al Hilal of the Saudi League and Zamalek of the Egyptian Premier League. After the game the majority of comments were critical of the fans who attended, according to Doha News. The lack of hydration stations and toilets, poor air conditioning and long lines on public transport were the biggest problems fans had at the stadium where the World Cup final will be played on December 18.
The comments about the sports facility were quite negative:
“This is a disaster,” Eslam, an Egyptian fan living in Qatar, told GLM. “I don’t want to go to the World Cup anymore. Not if that’s the case.”
“I had to take my young son because he was tired from walking and very dehydrated,” Mohammed told Doha News. “There was no water, the volunteers kept saying ‘I don’t know’ every time I asked them how far away we were.”
“I spent 20 minutes looking for the women’s toilet,” one fan told Doha News. “For some reason no one knew where they were. Everyone gave the wrong addresses. It was very tiring and frustrating,” added another.
A spokesman for the organizers of Qatar 2022 told GLM that the problems would be resolved before the opening match of the World Cup and that the match helped the organizers to identify all the problems in advance. But even the people who worked at the stadium weren’t sure where things were located.
“Even some ambulances were going around trying to figure out where they were supposed to be,” an unnamed supplier told GLM. “We were given the wrong addresses over and over and the parking passes we had were for lots that didn’t exist.”
Lusail is one of only eight stadiums built in all of Qatar and by far the largest. It will host 10 matches throughout the World Cup, starting with Argentina against Saudi Arabia on November 22 and ending with the World Cup final on December 18.
The other World Cup controversy in Qatar
Arguably worse than the condition of the stadiums is how they were built.
Qatar has been accused of exploiting migrant workers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal to build stadiums for the World Cup after Amnesty International wrote that the workers were subjected to extremely poor living conditions, back wages and near slavery during their stay. job. The Guardian reported in early 2021 that more than 6,500 of the 1.7 million migrant workers have died in Qatar since construction work began for the World Cup, or an average of 12 people a day, mostly from Bangladesh. , India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino dismissed those claims and downplayed criticism of working conditions when asked at an event in California in May.
“When you give someone work, even under difficult conditions, you give them dignity and pride,” Infantino told USA Today. “It’s not charity. You don’t do charity.”
“Now 6,000 could have died on other construction sites and so on,” Infantino added, “and of course, FIFA is not the world’s police nor is it responsible for everything that happens in the world. But thanks to FIFA, thanks to football, We have been able to address the status of the 1.5 million workers who work in Qatar.”
We are still two months away from the biggest event in international football. But the news surrounding the 2022 World Cup is less about the countries competing and more about the host country.