By Samindra Kunti
June 23 – FIFA and local organisers have once again expressed their confidence that there won’t be a shortage of accommodation for fans planning to travel to the World Cup.
At the Qatar Economic Forum, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said that he is “not worried” that supporters will have nowhere to sleep with hosts Qatar expecting anywhere between one and two million visitors during the four-week football extravaganza in November and December, the first World Cup to be played in winter.
The general secretary of the Supreme Committee Hassan Al Thawadi also downplayed fans’ concerns that the accommodation will be very pricey or that there simply won’t be enough rooms.
“We have tried to ensure that we provide different offerings. So, from the affordable, which range from about $80 to $100 a night, all the way to the more pricey ones, five-star hotels or some of the luxury offerings in terms of cruise ships. We are trying to create a wide range that caters for everybody,” said Thawadi.
“More and more hotels are coming into the pipeline and this takes time of course. Our offering is slightly unique. It is an attempt at – not regulating – managing prices [on the booking platform]. We have always committed to this being an accessible, affordable tournament.”
However, searches on Book Qatar 2022, World Cup organisers’ official accommodation platform, suggests staying in Qatar might not be that affordable. With cabins costing $200 a night, most options available are luxury offerings that can set visitors a few thousand dollars a night back. On December 18, the day of the World Cup final, ‘budget conscious’ options are still available at $84.
“With six months until kick-off, Qatar is on track to ensure football fans from all over the world can book a wide range of unique and affordable accommodation options, with room prices starting at $80 per night for 2 people,” said a spokesperson for the Supreme Committee. “The host country will deliver up to 130,000 rooms, which equates to 3.6m room nights, for the one million-plus fans expected to travel for the tournament.”
“Accommodation options are released to align with FIFA’s phased ticket sales. More choices will be available in due course to ensure fans who have bought tickets are given priority to book accommodation which guarantees a great World Cup experience. Our objective has always been providing fair and reasonable pricing for visiting fans.”
Of those 130,000 rooms, only 90,000 rooms will be made available to the public via the booking platform, the AP has previously reported. The pressure on Qatari hotels, apartments, cabins and even the cruise ships organizers have commandeered will reach a peak during the group phase when across twelve days 32 teams will be playing for a spot in the round of sixteen.
Some fans will also be put off by Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws and human rights record, but Al Thawadi once again said that everyone will be welcome, but asked visitors to “respect our culture”.
Infantino, who lives in Doha, weighed in on workers’ rights and their protection. He said: “I put my tent here and I am kind of living here. I am going every day to see the responsible persons in the government. We enforce all this legalisation so that if somebody violates it that the human rights, the human right are protected.”
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