Murky tap water, roasting heat, no loo roll: Inside Qatar’s £175-a-night World Cup fan tents

‘Already buzzing for the Netflix documentary,’ wrote one viewer

Lucy Thackray
Tuesday 22 November 2022 12:44 GMT
Inside the £220-a-day containers fans will stay in at World Cup in Qatar

Following fans’ initial shock at their first impressions of Qatar’s World Cup accommodation, one TikTok user has given a deeper dive into the country’s £175-a-night fan tents.

Earlier videos had showed a “tent village” of closely huddled white canvas structures, with glimpses of simple, wood-framed twin beds and campsite style toilet blocks.

On Monday, BBC sports journalist Emily Brooks posted a more in-depth video review of the tents, which appear to be in the same unnamed fan village as the earlier footage. She said she arrived two days before the World Cup started on Sunday.

“POV: You’re staying in one of the World Cup fan camps,” wrote Ms Brooks, showing footage of white tents lined up along a gravel pathway.

In the video, she pulls back the square of carpet in her own tent to find sand underneath; goes to austere metal toilet blocks to find no toilet paper; and advises residents to “let the water run for a bit before you brush your teeth”, showing murky water initially spurting from a tap.

Ms Brooks filmed the footage at Doha’s Qetaifan Island Fan Village, which sold units to guests visiting for the event for £175 a night, including a breakfast box, wifi and 24-hour reception.

In the clip, she also shows a small, flimsy padlock used to lock the zip-edged “door” of each tent; and films herself waking to 29C heat, with only a small standing fan provided as air conditioning.

“The first thing that hit us was the heat - it was pretty hot in there,” she describes in the video. “We did have a fan though, but at this point it felt like it was just pushing hot air around.”

Defending the hospitality, she also confirmed that “there was electricity and pretty decent wifi”.

The shower blocks at the campsite

The tent villages, which are in several locations around Qatar, have been widely compared to 2017’s Fyre Festival, which promised influencers luxurious accommodation but then provided government-standard hurricane relief tents.

In Ms Brooks’ video, the “breakfast boxes” provided to tent guests are certainly reminiscent of the festival’s infamous cheese sandwich. They contain a croissant, small bottle of water, muffin, orange juice carton, banana and a sachet of instant coffee - though Ms Brooks writes: “There was nowhere to fill [it] up with hot water”.

She confirms that there are no towels provided to guests for showers, and says of the site: “It still felt slightly unfinished considering there were two days before the World Cup”.

The breakfast box provided to guests of the fan village

She adds that “staff assured us it would all be finished in time”.

“Already buzzing for the Netflix documentary,” commented one follower, while another wrote, “Looks like a quarantine camp”.

“Fyre Fest: Qatar Edition,” joked Liam Simmons under the video.

Dave Tarran commented: “£175 for a tent under that scorching heat? that’s a hard pass for me.”

“For £175 a night I expect an actual hotel room with my own bathroom,” replied another user.

The padlock provided to secure each tent at Qetaifan Island Fan Village

On Friday the Guardian reported that one of Qatar’s fan villages remained unfinished two days before the event’s first kick-off.

Reporters found the Rawdat Al Jahhaniya accommodation base still had piles of rubble and diggers among the shipping containers intended to house fans.

The site officially opened on Friday, with units sleeping two priced at £172 per night.

The paper reported that there “seemed no sign of” a promised cinema screen and tennis court, and that a “promised ‘fitness centre/gym’ appeared to consist of a few pieces of outdoor equipment close to the main entrance and road”.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, one guest of the country’s Ras Bu Fontas accommodation site told The Times that the £370-a-night camp was boiling hot with noisy air conditioning.

They said: “It has been hell. The air con in the cabin barely works and sounds like a [fighter jet] is taking off. Even if you have it on all the time during the day it is still 27C. You can’t have it on at night because it is so noisy.”

A spokesperson for Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said: “We are aware that a number of fans have faced delays checking into select Fan Village accommodation due to owner and operator negligence. A section of units in these facilities, which are delivered and managed by different private entities, have not met the required standards that were advertised to fans.

“While these sites are managed by independent commercial entities, rectifying these issues remains the utmost priority for the Supreme Committee. Full refunds are being offered to fans severely impacted by this issue as well as alternative accommodation which will be free of charge for the duration of their stay.”

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