FIFA has launched ‘Fan Fests’ around the world for the 2022 Qatar World Cup to make the tournament more accessible for football fans.
The competition, lasting a little less than a month from October-November this winter, will take place in the remote Middle Eastern peninsula.
And global football’s governing body FIFA is introducing fan parks outside the host country for the first time, to allow supporters to drink in the World Cup experience outside Qatar – and London could bid to host its own.
FIFA has launched ‘Fan Fests’ for the 2022 Qatar World Cup this winter, which will be outside the host country for the first time, to make the tournament more accessible for football fans
If London does secure its own venue, it would be competing with the hugely popular Winter Wonderland in the city centre around the same time.
Officially licensed Fan Fests began at the Germany World Cup in 2006 and have continued since then.
There were 11 festival parks across each of the host cities in the competition’s last edition, in Russia in 2018, and the previous four World Cups have seen 40million visitors across five continents.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: ‘To support our mission to make football truly global, accessible and inclusive, we are thrilled to introduce a new vision for the entertainment experience surrounding future FIFA World Cup events.
Official Fan Fests began at the Germany World Cup in 2006 and have continued since then, with 11 festival parks across each of the host cities in the last edition, in Russia in 2018
‘The FIFA Fan Festival provides an incredible opportunity for fans to come together beyond the stadiums and the on-pitch action and experience football in new and unique ways.
‘We are truly excited about the future of the FIFA Fan Festival and the enhanced entertainment offerings that will bring fans and partners alike closer to both men’s and women’s FIFA World Cups, as well as global football culture.’
The fan parks at the Euro 2020 tournament, held across 11 countries in Europe, were largely successful, and the demand for tickets to the fan park in Hyde Park, London for the 2018 World Cup semi-final between England and Croatia was massive.
Qatar, a smaller country by area than Vanuatu, the Falkland Islands and Moldova , will only host one fan park, a ‘reimagined’ space in Al Bidda Park in Doha, with the capital city’s skyline in the background.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino (pictured) called the fan parks a ‘new vision for the entertainment experience’ in order to ‘make football truly global, accessible and inclusive’
It will feature live broadcasts of every match on giant screen, concerts with top global music artists, a food court with ‘local cuisine and international delicacies’, matches with FIFA Legends, gaming stations and an official FIFA store.
The country is inaccessible compared to previous editions of the World Cup, with costs expected to be high.
If an England fan travels return from London, follow the Three Lions’ to the final (if they get there) and attend all eight matches along the way, sit in the cheapest seats and stay in the least expensive accommodation, the Football Supporters’ Association has calculated you will part with £5,000, before you pay for any food and drink.
However, this has to be caveated with the fact tickets sales have been strong, with nearly 2.5million sold so far.
FIFA will be offering fans a chance to camp at the World Cup in tents costing £350 per night
Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Secretary General H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi added: ‘It will be the centrepiece of our FIFA World Cup – the first to be held in the Middle East and the Arab world.
‘When fans arrive in November, they should expect a warm welcome, amazing football and a large number of entertainment options. We look forward to welcoming the world in just over 70 days.’
The Fan Fest will appear at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, held in Australia and New Zealand, for the first time.
In July, FIFA unveiled a ‘tent city’ offering accommodation for the World Cup, which will cost supporters £350 per night as part of a ‘fan village’ camping experience. The tournament, at the time of writing, will take place in 75 days.