With the start of the soccer World Cup, directives from Mohammed bin Salman to all ministries and authorities

With the start of the soccer World Cup, directives from Mohammed bin Salman to all ministries and authorities
With the start of the soccer World Cup, directives from Mohammed bin Salman to all ministries and authorities

With the start of the soccer World Cup, directives from Mohammed bin Salman to all ministries and authorities

Thousands of migrant workers gathered at a stadium in the Qatari capital, Doha, to watch the opening game of the World Cup, which is being held in the Middle East for the first time, taking selfies from the stands and enjoying sitting on the grass.

A special fan zone set up in the industrial area on the outskirts of town included a stadium with a huge TV screen and another big screen installed outside for a large crowd.

This area was set up alongside a series of labor camps housing hundreds of thousands of low-income workers in Qatar.

Qatar has given workers special seats to watch the World Cup games for free

“We are here now to enjoy the fruits of our labor and sweat,” Ronald Senyondo, a 25-year-old Ugandan, said on Sunday.

Senyondo has been living in Qatar for two years and has worked long hours in the sun to finish building and outfitting the stadiums for the tournament.

“I’m overwhelmed with feelings about what I’m seeing now,” he said.

The wealthy gas-producing country has a population of 2.9 million, the vast majority of whom are foreign workers at various levels, from low-income construction workers to top executives.

Human rights groups have accused the authorities of failing to protect low-income workers, including those who built stadiums and hotels to house World Cup fans, from overwork, unpaid wages and poor living conditions.

Foreign workers in Qatar watch the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Cup

The government says it has implemented labor reforms that include a monthly minimum wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals, or about $275, more than many people can earn at home.

Tickets for the opening game averaged $200, but the Industrial Fan Zone was free.

Thousands flocked to cheer Qatar on Sunday and expressed their sadness after the opening game ended in a 2-0 victory for Ecuador.

Some told Reuters that this allows them to follow a game up close during the World Cup.

“I help my brothers and sisters in Ethiopia by sending money, so I came here because buying tickets is very expensive,” said Ali Jamal, 26, who has been working in Qatar for five years.

Workers in Qatar were able to watch the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador on screens allocated to them free of charge.

A nurse from Nepal, one of the few women to watch the game, said she can no longer watch games due to her long shifts in the hospital.

Mohammed Ansar, a 28-year-old Indian man who has been working in Qatar since earlier this year, said he has volunteered with FIFA for two of the upcoming games so he will be watching them from the pitch.

On Sunday, however, he was grateful to be with his colleagues who were watching the game on a screen, even if Qatar’s defeat was disappointing.

“Having this free stadium means they also think about the poor,” he said.


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