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EXCLUSIVE: Thousands of sweltering World Cup fans are forced to queue for TWO HOURS in blistering 90F afternoon heat, with no water sources nearby, as fan parks are LATE to open in the latest chaos of FIFA Qatar
Thousands of fans were forced to wait in long two-hour lines in scorching temperatures for the opening of the official FIFA Fan Festival in Doha on Saturday afternoon.
Fans had flooded the fan zone at Al Bidda Park to get into the tournament spirit ahead of today’s World Cup opening match between Qatar and Ecuador.
The park, which can hold up to 40,000 people, was due to open at 4 p.m. local time, but fans began gathering earlier in the day to ensure fast-track entry.
Huge lines had already formed by 3:30 p.m., but the gates didn’t open for another hour, and fans couldn’t buy water to stay hydrated in the 90-degree heat.
There are no water fountains located around the park or at any of the nearby metro stations.
Queues for Doha Fan Festival lengthened as fans were delayed at the entrance for over an hour
No reason was provided as to why the entry of fans into the fan park was delayed.
Supporters who tried to enter the park were forced to wait in blistering temperatures with no access to water.
A group of Mexican fans said sports mail they had been waiting for over two hours to get in and had no water with them.
“We’ve been waiting here for two hours,” said one fan. ‘We can’t buy water, we didn’t bring anything with us.
‘We don’t know when we’re going in, they [security] can’t tell us anything. Hopefully we can get in soon.
There were two queues on either side of the fan park, with one area finally closed off, with hundreds of security guards deployed at the entrance.
A family with small children was informed that officials would not allow them to enter.
Supporters trying to leave the fan park were forced to walk for 15 minutes.
Even at the nearest station in West Bay there was no option to buy or fill bottles of water.
Fans who were holding out were offered some light relief by a band from Qatar who played drums for ten minutes.
A family from the United States, who had been waiting for almost 45 minutes, ended up leaving the line because they were told their three young children were not allowed in.
“We can’t go in with the children, they say it won’t be so nice for them there,” the mother said. We will probably go somewhere else to one of the souks.
The nearest tube station to the fan park is Corniche, but it is ‘exit only’, meaning fans wishing to leave must walk 15 minutes to West Bay, with no water sources on the way.
The fans were in high spirits at the start of the evening, with supporters from Mexico, Argentina and Ecuador singing together.
But people started to get frustrated when the doors didn’t open at 4 pm, without giving any reason for the delay.
The fanfest is free and open every day until the final on December 18, which means activity is likely to pick up as the tournament progresses.