Chaos and anger at Fifa’s fan festival on Qatar’s ‘extraordinary day’

Disturbing scenes at Al Bidda Park as the hosts faced Ecuador only added to the controversies at this World CupTen minutes before the first World Cup held in the Middle East begins the prospect of watching Ecuador’s Enner Valencia put Qatar to the sword seems remote. “Sorry, sir, we’re full,” says the maître d’ of Desert Rose, one of the few restaurants showing the game in Doha’s Souq Waqif. Their outdoor screens can be viewed from the pavement, however. “Sorry, sir, you can’t stand there,” says a polite but firm security guard. “Move along, sir.”Moving along through the bustling alleyways and squares there is little evidence to support the assertion of Qatar’s head coach, Félix Sánchez, that this will be “an extraordinary day like no other”. At least not in Souq Waqif, a rare example of Qatari architecture in Doha where market stalls and shisha lounges abound and TV stations from around the globe have set up studios for that authentic backdrop (Souq Waqif was renovated in 2006).

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