World Cup: How Qatar plans to welcome a million fans to football’s biggest event
Already there are reports of rising costs and a lack of suitable housing. For example, there are 21 properties available on online travel agency Booking.com for the first three nights of the tournament, with prizes starting at $1,000 per night and reaching $51,000.
Host countries have often found innovative ways to accommodate supporters, and Qatar is no different.
Here’s what Qatar has thought of to house football fans who could number a million people:
If you can’t build them, sail them – luxury cruise ships
Worried you’ll have to be at your best for a group stage game between Japan and Costa Rica? Don’t worry, you will have access to a hair salon and a beauty salon.
The ships are a 10-minute shuttle ride from central Doha, but staying in one of the spacious cabins won’t come cheap. They’re expected to range from $605 to $2,779 per night — though that’s a bit compared to some of the other options available to ticket holders, given that it includes a buffet breakfast.
A home away from home – apartments and villas
Qatar Accommodation Agency, the official accommodation provider for the event, aims to provide 100,000 to 130,000 rooms each night of the 28-day tournament.
There are already listings for ticket holders for one- to six-bedroom apartments and villas, with prices for ticket holders ranging from $84 to $875 per night. Most are easily accessible by public transport and the villas are fully equipped with kitchens, washing machines, swimming pools and gyms.
These accommodations, like others provided by the Accommodation Agency, will be rented on a first-served basis, via staggered release according to FIFA ticketing phases or in packages provided by Qatar Airways.
In addition to official accommodation, it will provide an Airbnb-like booking platform for residents to rent out their homes to traveling fans. By applying for a license from Qatar Tourism, residents or building owners can also list their apartments on other portals, such as Airbnb.
The festival experience – fan villages
Desert camping, the Arabian way — Bedouin-style tents
If all else fails, sleep in another country
Accommodation in Qatar is expected to be so limited that the country has opted to accommodate ticket holders in neighboring countries and transport them daily on short flights.
It will also be possible to drive from cities such as Riyadh, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which are all within a seven-hour drive.
Russian stock exchange plans to start trading UAE dirham and Indian rupee
The Moscow Stock Exchange is working on a plan to launch trading in the UAE dirham and the Indian rupee, but there are some “hurdles” from India’s central bank, a stock exchange official said on Thursday, according to Reuters. Daniil Korablev, head of sales to non-credit organizations, said on social media that the launch may not happen this year.
- Background: Hit by Western sanctions against Ukraine, Russia is actively shifting its trade from dollars and euros to the currencies of what it considers “friendly” countries.
- Why is this important: The United Arab Emirates and India have not joined their Western allies in sanctioning Russia for its war in Ukraine. Many Russians have moved to the United Arab Emirates since Western sanctions hampered business activity in their country. The United Arab Emirates abstained in February from a United Nations resolution condemning Russia for the war and, along with Saudi Arabia, pushed back against United States calls for increased oil production to tame inflation.
NATO allies condemn cyberattack blamed on Iran
NATO allies on Thursday condemned a recent cyberattack on Albania that the governments in Washington and Tirana blamed on Iran, Reuters reported.
- Background: Albania severed diplomatic ties with Iran on Wednesday, when Prime Minister Edi Rama accused the Islamic Republic of carrying out the July bombing and gave his diplomats 24 hours to close the embassy and leave the country. In a rare video address, Rama said the cyberattack had “threatened to cripple public services, wipe out digital systems and hack into state records, steal government intranet electronic communications and sow chaos and insecurity in the country”.
- Why is this important: Relations between Iran and Albania have been strained since 2014, when Albania accepted some 3,000 members of the exiled opposition group Mujahideen-e-Khalq, who settled in a camp near Durres , the main port of the country. Washington, Albania’s closest ally, also blamed Iran and vowed to “take further action to hold Iran accountable for actions that threaten the security of an American ally.”
US targets companies over producing Iranian drones and shipping them to Russia
The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on an Iranian company accused of coordinating military flights to transport Iranian drones to Russia, as well as three companies it says were involved in the production of Iranian drones, reported Reuters.
- Background: The United States accuses Iran of supplying drones to Russia for use in its war in Ukraine, which Tehran has denied. On Thursday, Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement: “The United States is committed to strictly enforcing our sanctions against Russia and Iran and to holding accountable Iran and those who support Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”
- Why is this important: Thursday’s sanctions come as indirect talks between Iran and the United States have made only tentative progress toward reviving a 2015 deal that limited Iran’s nuclear program in return for relief from some penalties.
Around the region
Middle Eastern traffickers have found innovative ways to smuggle the region’s favorite drug, captagon. But a recent attempt in Syria is one for books.
Following a tip-off, Syrian authorities confiscated 24 kilograms of captagon which were ground into a paste and made into hummus bowls using an adhesive.
The ministry did not say whether the traffickers were bringing the drugs in or out of the country.
By Mohamed Abdelbary
Forty-three years ago, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II made her first state visit to the Gulf Arab states, arriving on the royal yacht Britannia and meeting regional leaders for the first time since the final withdrawal of Britain from the Persian Gulf in 1971.
She met the founder of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed, in February 1979, seven years after the nation was united as a federal country. Her visit was part of a six-country royal tour that started in Kuwait and included Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth on Thursday at the age of 96, several Arab leaders offered their condolences. UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed tweeted that “Her Majesty was a close friend of the UAE and a beloved and respected leader whose long reign was characterized by dignity, compassion and tireless commitment. to serve his country.
The leaders of Qatar, Oman, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan also sent their condolences.
By Nadeen Ebrahim