If you’ve booked your flight to Qatar for the World Cup and already have your reservation set to stay in a “fan village,” well, I’m sorry. Photos have emerged of the temporary residency set up for 60,000 soccer fans, and calling them a college dorm room would be generous — let alone boarding that costs $203 a night.
A total of 30,000 rooms have been erected in the desert for the influx of fans, and while appearances may be deceiving, these look a whole lot like shipping containers.
It’s no so much that shipping containers are being used for the rooms, as much as the potential problems from all this. The point isn’t to get all “privileged westerner” about accommodation overseas, but rather what cramped rooms, paired with uninsulated steel or wooden structures means when you’re hosting an event in the desert.
Interior photos of the rooms shows no evidence of cooling, outside of a simple blind over the room’s lone window.
With competition set to start later this month, Accuweather is showing temperatures this month ranging from highs of 93, to lows of 68 at night. It remains to be seen how well the fan dwellings are at dissipating heat. The idea of people using shipping containers as housing isn’t new, but they do require a lot more forethought when it comes to heating and cooling that traditional structures. It’s unclear at this time whether the organizing committee has taken into account these issues — as well as the liklihood of multiple adults sharing such a cramped space.
Rooms will have a small bathroom, as well as a miniature fridge and … that’s it. The majority of the time fans are expected to be out and about, either watching games they don’t have tickets for at outdoor viewing areas with beanbag seating, or in one of the few designated zones where visitors can consume alcohol, despite Qatar’s strict Sharia law.
Look, in the end the concept isn’t terrible — but the execution is where this could all become a disaster. Repurposing shipping containers as temporary housing is vastly preferable than seeing huge villages rot and fall into disrepair following an event, but the nature of holding the World Cup in a location as hot as Qatar could really turn this into a huge health concern. Fans traveling from cool fall climates won’t have adequate time to acclimatize to the heat of Qatar, and these small rooms don’t seem to offer much relief.
Even the communal fan dining halls don’t really seem equipped to handle the crowds, with photos showing a few portable air conditioners in a tent set to seat hundreds.
This has been one of the most ill-advised, transparently corrupt, and reprehensibly managed events in the history of world sports. So much damage as already been done, but at this point all we can do is cross our fingers and hope there aren’t any major incidents that affect fans hoping to simply attend the World Cup.