DOHA, Qatar — Luxury hotels featured prominently in Qatar’s master plan to host the 2022 World Cup, and within the greater than a decade for the reason that tiny Gulf country was awarded the hosting rights to men’s soccer’s biggest championship, five-star accommodations have risen alongside the town’s high-rise towers at an astonishing rate.
That frenzy only intensified this yr amid a desperate rush to be ready for the beginning of the tournament on Sunday. But as visitors began arriving, it became clear that Qatar was not quite ready for at the least one group of its most demanding guests.
Last week, only a couple of days before essentially the most senior executives of FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, were set to jet into Doha for meetings ahead of a World Cup 12 years within the making, local officials delivered the bad news: The five-star hotel picked to deal with FIFA’s leadership — a bunch infamous for its affection for perks, its healthy appetite for all times’s finer things and its six-figure salaries — wouldn’t be ready for them.
FIFA declined to comment on the change in plans, saying it was a matter for Qatar’s Supreme Committee, the local organizing committee for the World Cup. And two senior officials within the organization affected by it said they’d been told their inconvenience could be temporary: Their original hotel, a spectacular curved waterfront edifice with interiors inspired by luxury superyachts and what has been billed because the world’s tallest chandelier, ought to be ready soon, perhaps inside days.
The officials declined to be quoted by name, given the embarrassing nature of the episode for each the organization and its Qatari hosts. The Supreme Committee, which has delivered eight stadiums, dozens of other projects and tens of hundreds of other rooms for visiting fans, sponsors and journalists, didn’t reply to a request for comment.
Once FIFA gets settled, its high command might be reacquainted with the FIFA Club, an exclusive hangout that has been a fixture at previous World Cups, featuring an infinite supply of fantastic foods, free cocktails and well-guarded privacy.
A Temporary Guide to the 2022 World Cup
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What’s the World Cup? The quadrennial event pits the most effective national soccer teams against one another for the title of world champion. Here’s a primer to the 2022 men’s tournament:
Where is it being held? This yr’s host is Qatar, which in 2010 beat the USA and Japan to win the correct to carry the tournament. Whether that was an honest competition stays in dispute.
When is it? The tournament will open on Nov. 20, when Qatar plays Ecuador. Over the 2 weeks that follow, 4 games might be played on most days. The tournament ends with the ultimate on Dec. 18. Here’s the total match schedule.
What number of teams are competing? Thirty-two. Qatar qualified robotically because the host, and after years of matches, the opposite 31 teams earned the correct to return and play. Meet the teams here.
How does the tournament work? The 32 teams are divided into eight groups of 4. Within the opening stage, each team plays all the opposite teams in its group once. The highest two finishers in each group advance to the round of 16. After that, the World Cup is a straight knockout tournament.
How can I watch the World Cup within the U.S.? The tournament might be broadcast on Fox and FS1 in English, and on Telemundo in Spanish. You’ll be able to livestream it on Peacock, or on streaming services that carry Fox and FS1.
When will the games happen? Qatar is five hours ahead of London, eight hours ahead of Latest York and 11 hours ahead of Los Angeles. Meaning there might be predawn kickoffs on the East Coast of the USA for some games, and midafternoon starts for 10 p.m. games in Qatar.
Got more questions? We’ve got more answers here.
Within the meantime, FIFA has managed to secure a backup hotel: a palatial redoubt with spectacular views over the Persian Gulf and a flotilla of wood dhows, traditional Arab boats, moored just in front of its private beach. The hotel opened on Tuesday; the FIFA executives were its first guests.
The hotel troubles for FIFA’s elite class, though, weren’t the one sign of strain for Qatar’s plans to welcome the world to an event that has already cost the country greater than $200 billion for preparations, facilities and infrastructure improvements.
On Wednesday, organizers were forced to issue an apology to a Danish television crew whose broadcast was disrupted by overzealous private security guards who demanded — continue to exist air — to see that they’d the right credentials to film.
The confrontation’s footage quickly went viral and appeared to indicate one security official waving on the camera when informed by a reporter they were live. Rasmus Tantholdt, the Danish journalist whose broadcast was interrupted, asked a security official: “You invited the entire world here. Why can’t we film?”
Qatari officials described the incident as a mistake, and noted that after a check of their credentials the crew had been allowed to proceed filming. Qatar has hired hundreds of personal security staff from around the globe to assist police the tournament, which is anticipated to draw a million visitors.
One other sign that things are still in flux has been the repeated fine-tuning of plans to sell beer in a rustic where the sale of alcohol is strictly controlled. On Saturday, FIFA officials were left embarrassed after The Latest York Times reported on the hasty relocation of beer tents on the eight tournament venues. In response to people involved in that change of plans, moving the beer to more discrete positions was part an effort to not upset the local population in a largely conservative Muslim country.
Then this week, as Qatar hosted an event to mark the primary sales of beer in a dedicated fan zone near Doha’s waterside Corniche, fans were asked to pay the equivalent of $14 for a half-liter, a price that was almost double what officials had been privately promising for months.
That fan zone, Al Bidda Park, was billed as a hub for foreign visitors but seemed to be a piece in progress, too. On Thursday, staff in blue coveralls were busy laying paving stones, and metal barriers still divided the property.
Inside FIFA’s temporary hotel, meanwhile, officials looked on as staff struggled to hold a six-foot placard decorated with one among the tournament’s catchphrases through the constructing’s ornate, Arabesque doors. “Expect Amazing,” the sign read.