The World Cup in Qatar descended into sham territory after it emerged that a family with three children was banned from a fan park on its opening day, once again casting doubt on the appropriateness of the nation to host the tournament. The World Cup hosts have opened the doors to fans of newly designed fan areas at Al Bidda Park for fans to soak up the spirit on the eve of the continent’s first World Cup, but logistical problems beset the event.
Fans were left frustrated after being forced to wait in line for two hours to attend the official opening of the FIFA Fan Festival. When temperatures exceeded 30 degrees Celsius, supporters were told they would not be able to buy water. There are also no water sources in the surrounding area, leaving some parched in the Doha desert.
The 40,000-capacity park, based in the capital Doha, was due to open its gates to traveling fans from 4 p.m. on Saturday. However, huge lines formed outside with soccer fans eager to get in before the venue reached capacity and the doors didn’t open until 4:30 p.m.
In one case, a report from The Daily Mail claims an American family had “waited for 45 minutes” in line, only to be instructed to leave when they reached the gate, as their three young children would be barred from entering the venue.
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It’s the latest issue to plague organizers after a seemingly endless list of issues experienced by fans. Accommodation in fan villages has proven to be largely inadequate for essentials such as water supply, while some facilities have been exposed to being in poor condition.
In other areas of the region, fans were seen lining up to buy beer for the first time, just days after FIFA agreed to Qatari government demands to ban the sale of alcohol in and around FIFA venues. World Cup, apart from hospitality.
There have also been highly visible arrangements of Qatari police forces standing guard in fan areas as organizers have tightened security in case trouble breaks out. However, there have been very few, if any, reported cases of crowd riots so far on the eve of the tournament.
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