|Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Protection: Reside on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Reside, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport web site and app. Day-by-day TV listings – Full coverage details|
At about 4.30am daily in Doha, the Adhan echoes across the metropolis.
After listening to the Islamic name to prayer, worshippers make their method to their native mosque for Fajr (daybreak) prayers.
On the identical time, World Cup guests are climbing again into their beds having left the Fifa fan competition – the place matches are proven on huge screens, then live shows staged – when it closes at 2am.
Qatar has a inhabitants of fewer than three million individuals and greater than 2,000 mosques, and a distinction in tradition has been dropped at the nation for the primary main worldwide soccer match to be held in a Muslim state within the Center East.
“It feels so particular seeing the joy and smiles of the followers,” fan competition director Mead Al Emadi informed BBC Sport. “Now we have welcomed individuals from all backgrounds and cultures to rejoice the perfect of soccer right here.
“Seeing how a lot persons are having fun with themselves is the intangible legacy of the World Cup. As a Qatari lady who loves her soccer, engaged on this challenge for the previous 10 years, then delivering it, is one thing that has been past my wildest desires.”
Prayer amenities ‘make it simple’
Qatar is a conservative nation however Sharia regulation is firmly entrenched in its structure – homosexuality is unlawful, and the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in public.
Surrounded by guests from all over the world, Qataris have caught to their traditions and beliefs – males, girls and youngsters are seen at matches of their thobes and abayas (lengthy robes) however with face paint and carrying scarves and flags.
Each stadium has designated prayer rooms, together with the media centres, which are sometimes packed when the time is approaching for the following of the 5 day by day prayers, and the Khalifa Worldwide Stadium has a purpose-built mosque inside its perimeter.
Throughout England’s first coaching session in Doha, the Maghrib (sundown) Adhan may very well be heard; at one Brazil sport at Stadium 974, the imam was seen sporting a Neymar shirt; and over the last group sport at Al Janoub, a gaggle used a Uruguay flag as a prayer mat.
“If the World Cup hadn’t been held right here, we in all probability would not have come [to Qatar],” says Faizal, who has travelled from Yorkshire together with his father and brother.
“The prayer amenities right here make it very simple for us, whether or not it is within the fan competition, the souq or the stadium. It has been beautiful to see vacationers from everywhere in the world attending the mosques and having a real curiosity in Islam and the Arab tradition.
“Halal meals is a should for us and would more than likely be a battle in different nations, so getting access to halal meals wherever we’re is such an enormous profit to us.”
Three of the stadiums have additionally been geared up with sensory rooms, giving followers with entry necessities the chance to expertise the sport away from giant crowds and loud music.
Stadium entry has largely been ‘easy’
Qatar has spent billions on infrastructure for the match, together with the stadiums, multi-lane motorways and a model new metro system.
Organisers have persistently claimed three migrant employees died on stadium websites, with 37 additional fatalities of stadium employees off-site as a result of non-work causes, and disputed a report alleging as many as 6,500 migrant workers have died.
Late final month, World Cup chief Hassan Al Thawadi informed TalkTV an estimated 400-500 migrant employees died “because of work related to the World Cup”.
Nevertheless, Qatari officers shortly sought to make clear that determine, saying it was an estimate for fatalities throughout all business sectors, not simply infrastructure websites linked to the match.
With probably the most distant of the stadiums simply 40 miles from the centre of Doha, there have been questions earlier than the World Cup about how the infrastructure would cope.
After an preliminary concern with the Fifa ticketing app on day two – causing issues for hundreds of fans going to the England and Wales games – stadium entry has largely gone properly.
With a number of the stadiums a stroll of 20 minutes or so from a metro station, a whole lot of workers have been readily available to level individuals in the direction of the venues, then shout “metro, this manner” whereas pointing with big foam fingers after the matches.
England fan Ben lives in Doha, and attended the primary sport at Al Bayt – the stadium furthest outdoors the town.
“The logistics across the stadium have been very easy,” he stated. “There have been a great deal of buses getting us to the bottom from the metro and a great deal of buses to get us again.
“Entering into the bottom was easy, too. The queue was lengthy but it surely moved steadily and we have been inside in about 20 minutes.
“However no meals or water was obtainable within the concourse close to us, which was a little bit of a farce.”
Holly, an England fan who travelled for the group stage, stated: “What has actually stunned is the convenience to get to the stadiums and across the metropolis. The metro has been sensible and also you hardly have to attend.”
One other England supporter stated followers might get to most stadiums fairly simply, however the ones additional away have been “fairly tough to navigate”.
The longer-term legacy of the match will probably be felt as soon as overseas followers have returned residence, although, and a Brazilian man who has lived in Qatar for eight years informed us the development of the metro system may have a selected influence.
‘We really feel a lot safer right here’
Qatar has a low crime fee, so being pickpocketed or mugged on the street is unlikely. However safety has been closely bumped up for the match, with loads of cops patrolling the metro and stadiums.
Japan supporter Take stated he felt “a lot safer right here” than in Brazil eight years in the past.
“You needed to examine your baggage in every single place you went,” he stated as he mirrored on his expertise in 2014. “Right here, nothing.”
England fan Mike stated: “This can be a World Cup like no different – it’s so totally different, but it surely has been sensible. I went to the fan competition and there have been so many followers round having fun with the event.
“Clearly you do not have the ingesting, and there hasn’t been any bother. All of it feels so protected.”
One other England fan, Holly, added: “There have been considerations about coming, however I’ve actually loved it. It’s a very totally different environment to what we’re used to at soccer in England.
“There being no drink and no giant teams of followers has made it a little bit of a carnival environment. I have not seen a number of European followers about, however the South People have greater than made up for that.”
Environment ‘pretty much as good as ever’ or ‘disappointing’?
Within the build-up to the match, it was unclear what number of supporters would journey to Qatar and what the environment was going to be like at matches.
It’s estimated multiple million followers have made the journey, and only a few matches have appeared considerably undersubscribed. Certainly, Fifa stated attendance for the group stage had been an average of 96% of stadium capacity.
Nearly all of video games have been stuffed with the color, ardour and noise you’ll anticipate at any main match, although there have been others which have prompted individuals to publish on social media they’ve felt “flat” or “synthetic”.
The obvious distinction when put next with earlier tournaments has been a discount within the variety of European followers. Whereas the likes of Brazil and Argentina look to be represented everywhere you go, it’s uncommon to see a supporter sporting a European soccer shirt away from the stadiums.
A Germany fan we met earlier than their draw with South Korea stated the environment at European video games had been “disappointing” and there was an enormous distinction to the 2006 match in his homeland, the place fan parks had “100,000 in daily… right here it is just 30,000 on the Corniche”.
Many supporters have been impressed by the environment within the stadiums, although, with Brazil fan Dulce – who has lived in Doha for 5 years – saying it was “pretty much as good as ever”.
“Now we have actually liked it,” she stated. “I’m informed there are about 30,000 Brazil followers who’ve come from South America, and 38,000 from Argentina. That is ordinary.
“Simply hearken to the noise. You may be anyplace on the planet and this noise is as loud and pretty much as good. I’m excited by what is going to occur later within the World Cup.”
‘Abandoning LGBTQ+ supporters’
Whereas we’ve got been talking to supporters who’ve chosen to journey to Qatar, there are, after all, many followers who’ve stayed away, with the choice to stage the World Cup in a rustic the place homosexuality is unlawful closely criticised.
Organisers have all the time maintained all guests can be welcome no matter race, faith, gender or sexuality, however in addition they stated they anticipated their legal guidelines and tradition to be revered, and lots of LGBTQ+ followers stated they had not received the assurances over safety they wanted.
Days earlier than the World Cup kicked off in Qatar, a fan group said football is “leaving behind” its LGBT supporters.
A homosexual fan wrote in a diary for BBC News that, though he has by no means felt involved for his security in Qatar, locals “do not contemplate homosexual followers as a part of the equation”.
A transgender Qatari woman also told BBC News: “I’m very afraid, however I simply need individuals to know that we do exist.”
BBC Information journalist Shaimaa Khalil wrote from Doha: “It does really feel like there are two parallel universes with regards to the controversies round this World Cup.
“For the advocates, the activists, the European groups and particularly the seven captains who had supposed to put on the One Love armband, that is an LGBT and human rights concern they need to stay vocal about.
“For hosts Qatar, and people spectators who’ve come right here or who’re watching across the Arab world – which has an enormous Muslim majority – that is about faith, tradition, the norms of the area and principally about respect which they do not really feel they’re getting.”
‘Espresso is our beer’
Alcohol can’t be consumed in public in Qatar, whereas ordinarily it is just obtainable to buy at sure motels or when you have a licence.
Simply two days earlier than the beginning of the match, Fifa changed its policy and determined that alcohol wouldn’t be bought on the eight stadiums.
The match has been primarily trouble-free, other than an incident which appeared to indicate a struggle between Argentina and Mexico supporters.
In Msheireb – the downtown space of Doha the place there are a variety of eating places with al fresco eating – we spoke to a fan with a Scotland shirt on and his two mates having fun with a gentle drink.
Requested how he has felt with out alcohol being simply accessible, he stated: “It hasn’t been an issue in any respect. Actually, it is made us really feel a bit higher.”
An Ecuador fan, who now lives in Saudi Arabia, stated they drink alcohol in his residence nation and it’s a “huge lifestyle”. He admitted it had been “very arduous for just a few weeks” after he moved to regulate to not ingesting alcohol and having events, however he’s used to how it’s in Qatar and now has another.
“Right here, espresso is like our beer,” he stated. “Individuals are lining up for ages for espresso.”
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