World Cup 2022: we visited the fan zone reserved for migrant workers, in full sun, far from the city center and stadiums

Many will be following the four matches of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday, November 29. From their television, or in the stadiums or in the fan zones of Doha, which welcome supporters from all over the world.

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One of these fan zones remains separate: that reserved for migrant workers in Qatar. Located far from the city center and its luxury, far from the stadiums too, every day, thousands of workers meet there to watch the matches on a giant screen. There, in a cricket stadium, on a bare lawn, were scattered a few poufs to sit on, with too little shade to protect them from the sun.

The fan zone was installed along a two-lane dual carriageway, in an industrial zone setting.  (JEROME VAL / RADIO FRANCE)

Hundreds of thousands of workers from Asia are crammed into Asian Town, a district far from downtown Doha. “There are only workers here, from all over the world, explains one of them. Myself, I work for an international company.” “I come for every match from 7 p.m. after work, adds Jaqdish Prasad, an Indian who has lived in Qatar for 17 years. I live in Sector 52. It’s fifteen kilometers from Doha.”

The fan zone's giant screen was set up in a cricket stadium, where shade is rare.  (JEROME VAL / RADIO FRANCE)

The decor has nothing to do with that of the main fan zone, at the edge of the water, on the cornice: here we find that of an industrial zone, flanked along a two-lane dual carriageway. However, Matine, a Kenyan who arrived three months ago, prefers to come here: “Today, I’m resting. I prefer that rather than wasting my time at home. It’s the area closest to my accommodation.”

For these migrant workers who built this country, it is impossible to go to the stadium: most tickets are too expensive. “I haven’t been to the stadium yet, I haven’t bought tickets, I haven’t booked any, concludes one of these workers. We can’t afford it.” This evening again, there will be thousands of them, their eyes riveted on the giant screen in Asian Town.

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