World Cup fan village still a building site 48 hours before Qatar 2022 kicks off

<span>Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

A large official fan village, which is expected to house dozens of England and Wales fans in the coming weeks, still resembles a building site less than 48 hours before the World Cup kicks off.

The Rawdat Al Jahhaniya accommodation base, in the shadow of the Ahmad bin Ali stadium where Wales play the US on Monday, had abandoned forklift trucks and a digger next to the hundreds of sea containers that will host supporters when the Guardian visited on Thursday and Friday.

Remarkably the site, which opened on Friday, costs £172 a night for a double cabin for two.

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On the official website, Fifa lists a tennis court and cinema screen as being among the facilities. There seemed no sign of either, although they could have been hidden from view. Meanwhile the promised “fitness centre/gym” appeared to consist of a few pieces of outdoor equipment close to the main entrance and road.

There was a huge amount of sand and rubble, as well as a giant crater by the side of a tent that will serve as a mosque.

A site organiser insisted security guards would patrol the area 24 hours a day. “Security won’t be an issue,” he said. “There will be guards who will stop people coming in.” Those guards quickly interjected when reporters tried to take pictures.

There is a portable Starbucks van and a large tented dining hall, which will serve a range of food including pizzas and burgers. Amenities in each cabin include tea- and coffee-making facilities, two bottles of water per day, a fridge, bed linen and bathroom towels.

Shipping containers await fans in the Rawdat Al Jahhaniya accommodation site near the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.
Rubble litters the Rawdat Al Jahhaniya accommodation site near the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

The World Cup is expected to attract 1.2m visitors, but by March Qatar had only 30,000 hotel rooms, 80% of which had been booked by Fifa for teams, officials and sponsors.

That has led to concerns among fans and a rush to make more accommodation available – including shared rooms in empty apartments, a cruise ship off the coast of Doha and traditional-style tents in the desert.

The Rawdat Al Jahhaniya accommodation is not the only fan site of which questions have been asked. On Thursday the Times spoke to two contractors who had spent 10 days at Ras Bu Fontas, which will host 6,000 football fans a day, and who raised concerns.

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One told the newspaper: “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.”

The other described the cabins, which contain two single beds, in unflattering terms. “They are rock hard so you might as well sleep on the floor,” he said. “I have never been somewhere so uncomfortable. We have been here for 10 days and it is a nightmare. It might be OK if you want to rough it for a night or two, but any longer would be dreadful.”

The Qatar organising committee declined to comment when contacted by the Guardian.