Fans expose the precarious conditions of Vila da Copa with a daily rate of R$ 1000

Just more than 15 kilometers from the center of modern Dohafans who came to watch the World Cup are facing temperatures that exceed 35ºC in containers with broken air conditioning, dirty water and broken showers in the company of dozens of workers who are still operating in the unfinished space.

There are long queues for check-in and reports of people who had to sleep the first night homeless due to lack of available rooms, despite having paid reservations.

This is still the reality of some fans in the Cabins of Vila dos Fãs, in a place called Free Zone, but compared by South Americans to a “favela” in Qatar.

Friends of Kurdistan in Vila da Copa: criticism and disappointment
Friends of Kurdistan in Vila da Copa: criticism and disappointment🇧🇷 Julio Filho/UmDois Sports

O country’s government has already had to offer full reimbursement and finding new accommodations for tourists furious with what they found in the locality. The daily rate can reach 210 dollars per night, more than R$ 1,100.

When we take the Red Line of the Doha metro and get off at the Free Zone station, a short ten-minute walk takes us to the entrance of the Village.

Immediately we see tourists just arrived from the airport, with large suitcases, in a long line under the sun in the aridity of the desert.

A few meters away, fans pile up cushions in the game screen area to create shade in the scorching heat.

The first meters, however, are enchanting. There is a central corridor of synthetic grass with a market, pharmacy and different international food trucks. A Starbucks coffee is successful.

When we move towards the interior of the huge complex that should house up to 60,000 fans, however, the panorama changes quickly.

Beginning of the Fan Village.  Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois
Beginning of the Fan Village. Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois

Argentines enjoy stay in the “noble zone”

In one of the first cross corridors, two Argentines are resting shirtless under the shadow of the container itself.

“We are lucky. We have wi-fi, a good bathroom that works. But we are part of a larger group and not everyone is happy,” says Germán, from Mar del Plata.

Martín and Germán came to see Argentina.  Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois
Martín and Germán came to see Argentina. Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois

“We were told that the complex would even have a gym, but it’s a joke. The big screens to watch games are so crowded that it is impossible to watch. They said that we would have the room cleaned every three days, but if we don’t go back and charge, nobody shows up. We pay too much for what they offer us”, adds Martín, from Buenos Aires.

They say they rented the room in April and paid $135 each per night. They will stay for a month. “The further we go towards the back, the more it looks like a favela”, reinforces Germán.

Dirty water, broken shower, non-working air and construction work in progress

Works continue during the World Cup.  Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois
Works continue during the World Cup. Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois🇧🇷 Julio Filho/UmDois Sports

When we walk inside the complex, the first thing that catches our attention is the high number of workers.

It’s past noon and most of them sleep under the shade of the containers during their lunch break. The thermometers read 30°C. The thermal sensation is much worse.

On the horizon, you can see a completely unfinished area, with construction in full swing, workers coming and going, machinery and dust in the air.

Stacked pillows protect tourists from the sun.  Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois
Stacked pillows protect tourists from the sun. Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois

I find a couple of Brazilians in my direction. They say it took them two hours just to check into the room.

“The idea itself was really good. But we had a lot of problems. When we arrived, water was leaking from the shower stall and the air conditioning was not working”, says production engineer Vitor Rossini, 26 years old.

Victor and Carol Rossini.  Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois
Victor and Carol Rossini. Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois

“We stayed a few days with just the air fan. It gets very hot. We woke up dripping with sweat”, adds the administrator, Carol Rossini, 28.

They say they met Brazilians who were placed in newly built rooms with dirty water and the smell of sewage. Others had to spend their first night homeless for lack of rooms.

Further ahead, a group of friends from Kurdistan have lunch sitting on the ground. There are no chairs. “It’s not good. The shower does not work. There is no water and the electricity is bad”, says Mohammad Adris.

Luxury price in the worst hotel ever

Bolivians Rodrigo Queiros, 32, and Camila Fiorilo, 31, are working on the computer. They bought a package that included breakfast and dinner and paid over $200 a night, per person.

“Wifi doesn’t work. It is not what we were promised”, starts Queiros.

“The air conditioning is a little machine, it is not enough. The price doesn’t do justice to the location. Before here we were in Bahrain, Dubai and Egypt and stayed in much better hotels for much lower prices”, he continues.

Rodrigo and Camila came to support Brazil.  Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois
Rodrigo and Camila came to support Brazil. Photo: Julio Filho/UmDois

“The deeper you go, the uglier it is. There are problems with the bathrooms. There are works and workers all day. We joke that it’s the most expensive hotel we’ve ever stayed in. And also the worst”, jokes Camila.

“When we cross the street towards the back, it’s like leaving the upscale neighborhood and arriving at the favela”, reinforces Queiros, using the same expression as the Argentineans Martín and Germán.

Mexican Marcos Cruz, 46, says he had to sleep without a mattress on the first night. “The first few days were chaos. It was dirty and awful. It is complicating because even now there are workers striving to complete the works”.

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