sports

Alcohol-free and scorching, fans marvel at calm ahead of Doha World Cup – 18/11/2022

Hundreds of fans lined up at this time in Doha to purchase tickets for the World Cup that begins subsequent Sunday, however the scenes of celebration and euphoria which are widespread on the eve of different World Cups didn’t occur this time. At least within the morning and night. In temperatures of round 30 levels, Mexicans, Colombians, Argentinians and many Asians waited patiently for the gates of the principle ticket workplace close to the sting of the Qatari capital to open.

“Everything could be very nicely organized, however the environment of the World Cup has not but arrived,” stated Jacinto Zepeda, 66, from Mexico, together with his two youngsters and associates. Wearing a sombrero hat and his nation’s inexperienced jersey, the fan stated Mexico has been to each World Cup since 1986 and had a distinct feeling on the primary day in Qatar.

“We are used to that pleasant, fraternal environment that begins every week earlier than opening. You arrive and already sit down in a bar to drink one thing, discuss to completely different individuals and get together. But right here, as a result of of all of the cultural points within the nation, we won’t do this,” he says.

The alcohol restriction has been an uncomfortable problem for FIFA, the organizing committee and the fans who’ve come to Doha. Qatar’s autocratic regime prohibits the sale of liquor in most international locations, and licenses sure companies (comparable to luxurious motels) to promote alcohol. FIFA introduced at this time that fans attending matches may even not be allowed to drink, complying with the request of the Qatari royal household.

“In Russia [em 2018], I keep in mind it was an enormous get together”, stated Jacinto Zepeda. “People had been ingesting vodka and already pleased, even with out watching the sport. Some even freaked out and regarded unhealthy, however that is half of it. Here we knew there could be no such factor. It’s their tradition, okay. But possibly they need to suppose extra concerning the fans. Before organizing a World Cup, Qatar ought to stay.”

Outside the ticketing centre, the skyscrapers impress with their opulence, however the scorching warmth and lack of outside points of interest drive vacationers and fans to the air-conditioned environment of the Doha City Center mall. The Corniche, the adorned and ready space on the seafront to obtain guests, has been empty since morning this morning and night, apart from a number of staff. Fridays are holy for Muslims, and in Qatar, a rustic ruled by sharia regulation, many companies are closed or restricted on Fridays.

At the exit of the newly opened subway stations, volunteers guided pedestrians by the streets in order that they’d not get misplaced among the many mirrored buildings. Colombian Camilo Ocana, 35, making his World Cup debut, praised the Qatari group, however acknowledged the ban on alcohol two days earlier than the opening. “This restriction on the sale of alcohol impacts individuals, particularly Latinos, who we’re used to seeing ingesting soccer, partying,” stated the one that has been in Doha because the starting of the week. “Nevertheless, let’s stay this Cup.”

Indian fans of Brazil group attempt to get tickets for World Cup matches

Image: Adriano Wilkson/UOL

When Mexican Java Lopez arrived to purchase tickets, recollections of the Russian Cup 4 years in the past, when he attended with associates, instantly got here to thoughts. “We had a celebration in Russia. People from completely different international locations had been in the identical place, singing their songs. Everyone was teasing, however it was a really good environment, there have been by no means any issues,” he stated. “Now right here, town could be very good, however you see this calmness. I need to consider that it is political and non secular points that make individuals like this. The lack of alcohol undoubtedly impacts the local weather. Alcohol makes us extra unstable, ” it frees us much more, and issues are very calm right here.”

Also ready in line, Indian accountant Akhil Rajeev pointed to a different motive for the quiet streets: dwelling beneath an autocratic regime, the place freedom is proscribed, the Qatari inhabitants wouldn’t be used to gathering in public. “If the World Cup was in India, everybody would have fun within the streets, in that sense we’re just like Brazilians. But right here there isn’t a such festive tradition. People listed below are extra marginalized,” he stated, who lives in Doha. associates, all fans of the Brazilian nationwide group. “We do not enable demonstrations, we do not stay in a democracy. That’s why you do not see many individuals on the street.”

But because the solar set, the surroundings modified to a different acquainted half of town. In the Souq Waqif market, lots of of Moroccan fans (many sporting PSG and nationwide group star winger Achraf Hakimi’s shirt) kicked off World Cup celebrations and confirmed that North African Arabs can really feel extra comfy in Qatari Arabic.

While fans from different components of the world nonetheless flock to Doha, the residents of Africa and Asia are those most answerable for breaking the lull in Qatar’s routine. Asians who help different teams in Doha’s vacationer points of interest have usually taken massive excursions. The Brazilians, alternatively, promise to carry an enormous rally tomorrow when the group arrives at the lodge the place Tite’s group can be staying.

The Qatar Cup begins subsequent Sunday with the match between Qatar and Ecuador at 13:00 (Brazilian time). Brazil opens subsequent Thursday towards Serbia.

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