The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 organisers on Wednesday unveiled fan accommodation for the event that ranges from a steel bed in a studio at $84 a night to luxury villas costing nearly $1,000 and luxury cruise ship suites.
Visitors to the Gulf state will also have to buy a match ticket before they can get official accommodation and to register for a special pass to get access to stadiums and fan zones, Qatari officials said.
Organisers of the football extravaganza, that runs from November 21 to December 18, have sought to reassure 1.2 million visitors expected from around the world that there are enough rooms and they will fit all pockets.
Despite the doubts, and some criticism of Qatar’s record of handling migrant workers, there have been nearly 20 million applications for the three million tickets.
The government and world body FIFA have reserved 130,000 hotel and apartment rooms for the tournament. But they will also have two cruise ships in Doha port and could set up desert camps for fans.
Omar al-Jaber, executive director of accommodation for the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the main organising body, said the aim was to have prices for all fans.
“As for the average price, it starts from $80 and varies according to the location and the type of housing chosen,” he told a press conference.
But he warned that rates would be based on “supply and demand” and those who book early would get the cheaper prices.
When AFP went to the accommodation website an hour after it opened, there was a 50-minute wait to access the list of hotels and rooms.
The cheapest was a studio with two steel single beds and a shared kitchen in an alcohol-free campus at Al Wakra, a Doha suburb. The $84 a night room at Barwa Barahat Al Janoub Cluster A includes an ensuite shower but the kitchen is shared.
Beer and strong drinks are mainly banned in Muslim Qatar. But the government plans to allow drinking in World Cup fan zones.
The studios — near the Al Janoub stadium, where some matches will be played at the Qatar World Cup 2022 — and most of the accommodation, is virtually new.
There are also luxury villas near the Al Khalifa stadium in Doha for $920 a night. But many fans will be in one of the 4,000 cabins on the MSC Poesia and MSC World Europa cruise ships.
Prices start at $180 a night for a basic cabin while some suites are more than twice as expensive. Fans must have a ticket to get an official room though some private portals will also be selling accommodation and hotels will also have some rooms on the open market.
Fans have to register for a Hayya card, which will act as a visa for Qatar and a passport to enter stadiums and fan zones and get free transport. The card is expected to have information on whether the holder has had a Covid-19 vaccine.
“The Hayya card is the gateway to attendance at the 2022 World Cup stadiums, as it is mandatory for all fans,” said Captain Mohammed al-Kuwari of the government’s Safety and Security Operations Committee.
With accommodation at a premium some people will fly in for one-day trips from Dubai. FIFA has said that some fans could be housed in “desert camps”.Qatar and FIFA have also launched an international campaign to find 20,000 volunteers to help manage the event. They are expecting tens of thousands of applications.
© Agence France-Presse
Main image credit: KARIM JAAFAR / AFP
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