The mysterious group at the Al Bayt Stadium before Qatar-Ecuador

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A group of around 300 people, many of them from the Indian subcontinent, moved from one of the esplanades in front of the Al Bayt Stadium to disappear after the arrival of the media at the venue, two hours before the start of the Qatar World Cup 2022.

AS consulted three people who made up the contingent and they stayed on the esplanade as soon as the bulk of the group moved to another location. Two confessed to coming from India; one declared himself a Qatari citizen. All claimed to work as cashiers inside the stadium, although none wore a uniform. However, one of them stated that his shift had been in the morning; then he changed his version: he worked in ‘telephone assistance’. The three accreditations, like those of the rest of the group members, read ‘Marketing Services’, and required a special ticket to enter the building. Once inside, some of them were stationed in the areas where drinks and snacks were sold, but they only observed without participating in the transactions, dressed ‘in civilian clothes’.

On the eve of the World Cup, the Turkish outlet Sporx reported that the Qatar 2022 Supreme Handover and Legacy Committee had hired Pakistanis and Indians to fill the stadiums during the World Cup. They would even provide them with food and per diem. According to the portal, only 70% of the tickets available for the tournament have been sold. Also, Guardian revealed that the security guards at the FIFA Fan Fest, located in Al-Bidda Park, who are migrant workers from the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka)are paid just 35 rial cents (10 US cents) per hour.

Stadium full, until half time

The opening match of Qatar 2022 ended with empty stands. What was pure hubbub in the stands at the time of the opening ceremony ended in a chilly atmosphere, accentuated by air conditioning, and with wide spaces in the stands belonging to Qatari fans, many of whom left the venue in the middle of weather. The north stand, where the always enthusiastic ‘bar’ of the host team was located, and the section of boxes, located in the middle of the venue, were the ones that looked most soulless as the match progressed. The night ended with a large Ecuadorian majority in the stands and barely 30% of the capacity, approximately, full.

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