Doha, Qatar – The FIFA Fan Festival hosted a “test run” in Doha before the World Cup Qatar 2022, which officially kicks off on Sunday.
The fan festival venue will act as a public viewing and gathering site where all matches will be shown live. FIFA has included such festival venues as a part of the tournament since the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Hundreds lined up on Wednesday for the event at Al-Bidda Park, with organisers expecting 20,000 people to attend the test run at the venue, which can hold approximately 40,000 fans.
The venue features a giant screen for the live screening of World Cup matches, with a panoramic view of Doha’s skyline in the backdrop. Food courts, cultural exhibits, and a FIFA museum have also been set up for visiting fans.
John Macintosh, who hails from Scotland but lives in Qatar, said outside the venue on Wednesday that he attended the test run to “get a feel” for what the festival and fan zones will be like during the World Cup.
“We’re here just to see what the place will look like during the World Cup … how it will be organised,” the 51-year old told Al Jazeera, who was there with his wife Maka and two children.
Indian national Ashwin Kumar, 35, who also lives in Qatar, said since the World Cup and associated festivities were happening in his “second home”, he felt he should experience it firsthand.
“I am looking forward to having a good time today and the rest of the month … I have like 13 tickets for the tournament,” he added.