Qatar danger for World Cup fans as gaping hole appears outside brand new £930m stadium | Football | Sport


Viral footage has exposed a gaping hole just a stone’s throw away from the billion-dollar stadium holding the 2022 World Cup final. Qatar will feel fully prepared to host the tournament, which kicks off on Sunday, but a dangerous hazard has emerged in a location thousands of football-mad fans will descend on in the coming weeks.

Negative energy has surrounded the winter tournament due to Qatar’s controversial successful bid to host it in 2011. The country’s human rights record – including the treatment of the migrant workers involved with building the stadiums – and laws against homosexuality are among the issues that can’t be ignored.

But that has been compounded in recent days by images and clips emerging from Qatar that wouldn’t look out of place in Netflix’s ‘Fyre Fest’ documentary. Accommodation and hospitality are a couple of things with which fans in the Gulf state have been left infuriated – and it seems problems have also arisen closer to the pitches.

Journalist Mohammad Saleh has gone viral after posting a clip showing a dangerous hole in the ground on a walkway outside the impressive 80,000-capacity Lusail Iconic Stadium. The video made it appear like concrete slabs had collapsed into the ground, leaving the hazard into which Saleh pretended to fall and hurt himself.

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The venue, which cost around £932m ($1.1bn) to construct, is located 15km north of central Doha and will play host to 10 matches in total throughout the tournament, including the final on December 18. The Group C clash between Argentina and Saudi Arabia will be the first to occur next Wednesday, November 22.

With that date now just six days away, organisers will be pressured to get the hole covered up before it causes an unnecessary injury. Qatar will be excited to host the iconic festival of football but also undoubtedly can’t afford further bad press on top of the non-sporting matters over which the state has already faced scrutiny.

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Many workers have died during the construction of the tournament’s stadiums and infrastructure over the last decade. According to the Mail, 2,923 foreigners of working age have suffered unexplained deaths since Qatar was awarded the World Cup 11 years ago.

But FIFA figures have urged supporters to ignore politics and focus on football when the action kicks off on Sunday, as hosts Qatar face Ecuador after the opening ceremony.

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