FOOTBALL Fans of the World Cup in Qatar do not experience the event in the same way. At both ends, those who live in the fan villages, on the other, the pampered Qatar Fans Leaders
On the left in the photo, Michel is one of France's 42 fan leaders — Michel Lorriaux
- 2022 World Cup supporters lead two lives. On the one hand, the fans of Caravan City are playing the Fyre Festival.
- On the other hand, the Fan leaders, around fifty per country, have been invited by Qatar. They lead the good life. And are very grateful.
From our envoy; special to Doha,
He was there, before our eyes. We have seen it without seeing it. Too busy railing against the air conditioning 15 degrees during our first bus ride to Doha, the image of perfectly aligned caravans will remain subliminal for a while. Up to hear about the Al Khor camp and its Fyre festival tunes. Tents to even gravel with extra dirty water sold as hotel rooms, talk about an emotional lift. Closer to the center of Doha, Caravan City delivers on its modest promises. It's all in the name. A camp of perfectly aligned trailers, wide and endless sandy paths where there are more tank trucks filled with drinking water and tuk-tuks than supporters.
“ Want to ride? I'll take you to the restaurant area. » In this not too low-carbon country of Qatar, it’s still considered profitable to use an engine to travel 400 meters. So we let ourselves be teleported. In front of us, tables. On the side, food trucks for all tastes, from lounge areas to shelter from the scorching sun, and of course, shisha. Even further, a giant screen and beanbags for sunburn lovers.
Beanbags, blazing sun and camel
It's 2 p.m. In front of Maroc-Croatie, a man struggles to build a more or less elaborate beanbag shelter. Hats off to the artist, we will be satisfied with a melanoma. The experience isn’t unpleasant at all. condition to move away from the puking of saturated comments that give birth to the speakers set to EHPAD mode. And as long as we accept to suffer the evenings of victory of the English, more noisy sober than dead drunk, we would be almost not bad there, at least. Caravan City. Almost.
The desert of Caravan City – W.Pereira
After a disappointing second half and an unmentionable selfie with a poor dromedary tied up in the area of deserted football pitches, it’s time to turn around. On the horizon, a couple walks along, with heavy steps. Miguel and Ilana are Argentinian, and depressed about the defeat against Saudi Arabia. They landed; 24 hours ago, for a three-day stay. Not even enough to change time zones. “ We got it for 200 euros, we had booked; seven months ago. It’s compliant with what has been to us sold, except for the microwave and the kettle that we were promised. But the toilets, the beds, everything ça, it’s clean. » There is always a but somewhere.
“ The only thing we didn’t like too much, and it’s one thing we didn’t really like. precise at the time of booking, it’s what we were asked to do a deposit of 500 Qatari ryals (about 140 euros) by card which would only be returned to us 15 days after check-out. To me, it’s money you’t never see again. But what do you want, we were not going to sleep in the street. Maradona was saying a lot of bullshit, but he was right that the World Cup shouldn't be held in such a country. »
Supporter of Morocco, Aziz is not all about agreed. “ Honestly, it’s great. You can meet a lot of people here, and it’s a joy for us who are from the Arab world to be able to meet up with the Saudis, the Qataris and the Tunisians. For comfort, ça ok. But anyway, we don't spend much time here. It’s mostly for sleeping. »
A crazy world at « Fanvillage » of Caravan City. – W. Pereira
The « fan leaders » spoiled by Qatar
Half an hour by metro from the fan village, Michel Lorriaux also sleeps. But better. Because France stuck spanking Australia. But also because he is one of the 50 French fan leaders invited to Doha – only 42 came – by the committee; Organizing Committee of Qatar. A status that gives access to certain benefits such as an all-expenses-paid trip, including premium accommodation. “ We share an apartment at; five, with three bedrooms, in a beautiful building which is not a hotel but still has one with a reception service in case of problems. It was handy when we had to make a duplicate of our keys on arrival. And it’s not far from Khalifa Stadium. » A little bonus that makes you happy: Michel and his little friends have been received at the Doha Embassy on Monday to celebrate with great fanfare the arrival of the two French supporters who made France-Qatar a winner. bike.
The only exception is that current expenditure remains at the burden of supporters. And again, a check for 65 euros a day was provided by the host country for its fan leaders. Journalists had to come and poke their noses into matters that were none of their business – the very principle of the trade – so that the retropedal organization. “ It’s a bit of a shame, breathes Michel, especially since’ side plane tickets, seats we had for the opening match and accommodation, these sums were derisory. But at instead, we're going to have vouchers for the fan festival. ”
Another world. – W.Pereira
Life is pretty sweet for fan leaders. The Brazilian Raquel Freestyle, more than a million subscribers on Instagram, gives us an appointment at the reception of the Westin hotel, neither more nor less than the one where the Seleção has taken up residence. In a few minutes, she will be heading to a room in the 36-star building to join the fan leaders from all countries of the 2022 World Cup. « For me, it’s a dream. I come from the suburbs of São Paulo, life has not always been easy. easy. I never expected to be able to experience another World Cup than that of 2014. bottom. Doha is a beautiful city, but I have a soft spot for The Pearl [the city’s archipelago of man-made islands] and the Souq. »
No quid pro quo, really?
Officially, this dream is unrequited. “ There is a tacit agreement, we’re not going to speak ill of someone who invited us, it’s common sense», another fan leader tells us off.
< blockquote>“ I think their interest in everything, Raquel theorizes, is our exposure on the networks. I know that I’ve been chosen because I corresponded to; certain criteria. Obviously, I play football, but I am also a woman, and there is this will. to convey a certain open-mindedness. There is a logic, but no direct instruction. We are free. ”
Small oddity all the same. Both our Frenchman and his Brazilian counterpart gave us the same speech. About the « one love », without being asked about the subject, which was not even on our list of questions. Broadly « when you visit a country, you have to adapt to it; their customs and respect them. I think banning the armband was a good decision. This is about football, not politics. » Without evidence, this will remain a coincidence. But it is difficult not to think of the words of a great French philosopher, who exhorts to never bite the hand that feeds you.