Going to Qatar for the World Cup? Here's how much a beer will cost you, and it ain't cheap...
A tournament that comes with more than one high price...
World Cup 2022 officially kicks off on Sunday (20 November), and it's safe to say we're all feeling a bit conflicted about it.
Much has been written – and will continue to be – about the controversies surrounding FIFA's decision to award the tournament to Qatar and the subsequent, deeply harmful problems since – ranging from the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community, to immediate harassment of journalists (see below) covering the competition, to the much-publicised deaths of thousands of migrant workers involved in constructing the stadiums required to host the event.
We now got an apology from Qatar International Media Office and from Qatar Supreme Commitee.
This is what happened when we were broadcasting live for @tv2nyhederne from a roundabout today in Doha. But will it happen to other media as well? #FIFAWorldCupQatar2022 pic.twitter.com/NSJj50kLql
— Rasmus Tantholdt TV2 (@RasmusTantholdt) November 15, 2022
As of February 2021, the Guardian put the number of migrant worker deaths at 6,500 in the decade since World Cup: Qatar was formally given the green light.
Despite numerous and persistent calls for a boycott, the tournament gets underway in Al Khor on Sunday evening as the hosts take on Ecuador. Ordinarily, you'd look at that fixture and say it's not exactly the most mouthwatering of World Cup openers, but these are far from normal circumstances.
Is the first ever winter World Cup tainted beyond salvation? Probably. Will millions of people still watch it anyway? Definitely. And plenty are travelling over there, too. If you happen to be among them or you were just curious enough to click into this piece, let's take a look at how much a beer will set you back if you're milling about the main fan zone.
Sure enough, it's not cheap. A source told Reuters: that half a litre of beer will run you 50 Qatari riyals; the equivalent of €13.18, £11.60 or $13.73.
Though Qatar is not technically a "dry" country, it is illegal to consume alcohol in public. FIFA, doing what FIFA tends to do, managed to secure its own designated area where alcohol may be enjoyed.
The main fan zone in central Doha will exclusively serve Budweiser, while the venue boasts a capacity of 40,000 people.
Atmosphere-wise, what can one expect over there? Heat. Lots of it. Check out footage of an official fan zone in 32-degree sunshine below, as captured by UK Times journalist Matt Lawton. Woodstock '99 vibes, to say the least...
First look at the official fan zone here in Doha. Accommodates 40,000 people but there’s not much shade #WC2022 More on @TimesSport later pic.twitter.com/yWTdqiW2p8
— Matt Lawton (@Lawton_Times) November 16, 2022
Travelling journalists already feeling restricted
Not ideal, really. Meanwhile, the good time vibe continues with further confirmation that those looking to cover the tournament on a professional basis have been met with difficulties from local security.
soccer football writer Grant Wahl took to Twitter on Tuesday night to note that he met with strong opposition after taking a photograph of a slogan on the wall of the media centre he was working in.
"I took a picture of the Qatar World Cup slogan on the wall of the media centre today – and a security guard came over and demanded that I delete it from my phone," said Wahl.
"Is that how this World Cup is going to work?"
NEW: I took a picture of the Qatar World Cup slogan on the wall of the media center today—and a security guard came over and demanded that I delete it from my phone. Is that how this World Cup is going to work? Story: https://t.co/RXyfq1PANk pic.twitter.com/SPmG5CnrjQ
— Subscribe to GrantWahl.com (@GrantWahl) November 15, 2022
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