It’s happening, the FIFA World Cup will take place starting Nov. 20 at several of Qatar’s massive stadiums. With the event fast approaching, many countries across the region including Qatar are preparing for the series of matches in many ways. Several fan zones are being set up in countries like Dubai while Qatar itself is making its own special preparations for the global event. To catch up on all these updates, we compiled some of the most exciting buzz and news surrounding this special event.
With the matches happening soon, fans with a match ticket who seek to enter Qatar will need to have applied for a Hayya card. Beyond that, yesterday, it was announced that only Hayya card holders can enter Qatar and that will continue until Dec. 23 of this year.
The Hayya card won’t just give access to Qatar, it has a few special perks, the latest being eligibility for the UAE’s 90-day multi-entry tourist visa. Just a few days ago, several travelers have already received this coveted visa including the Jordanian football fan Mohammed Jalal. Fans do not actually need to enter the UAE to get the visa, they receive it before arriving in the country and once they are there, they can take a shuttle bus from Dubai to Doha and back. With this visa, there are even more perks including a package of services specially curated for incoming football fans.
When it comes to the World Cup, the global event will not just be about what is occurring within the large stadiums, Doha will also become a central entertainment hub that will host an exciting line-up of unique festivals and performances ranging from pop artists to DJs.
Some of the biggest events will include Arcadia, a three-stage festival, also dubbed Qatar’s largest EDM festival. From Nov.19 to Dec. 18, the month-long festival will get your blood pumping as some of the best DJs including Paul Van Dyk will be hitting the turntables. The special festival will also include a large pyro-metal figure dubbed The Spider that will breathe fire during the festivities.
For the ultimate Arab star-studded performance, fans can also attend Aravia, a large festival organized by the Saudi Company MDL Beast that will see the likes of Amr Diab and Mohammed Hamaki singing their biggest hits from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18. International artists will also be taking part in Doha’s entertainment scene which will include artists like the Black Eyed Peas, Jason Derulo, and Enrique Iglesias.
As not everyone will be able to hit up Qatar for the upcoming matches, several countries are setting up dedicated fan zones for people to watch the event without the need to travel. With Dubai, Expo City will hold several fan zones for its fans calling the new space “Fan City”. Starting from Nov. 20, more than 10,000 spectators can watch the matches on jumbo television screens, inside Budweiser tents or hookah lounges. The entry cost will be 50 dirhams and will be open from 5 to 1:30 am on weekdays.
Oman is also bringing the matches close to home wherein all the matches will be broadcast live at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) Gardens as part of an effort to attract fans to the country. As part of the program, the country will also be seeing a full-fledged football fan festival that will feature live music, food stalls, and games.
Many more preparations are underway so stay tuned for more updates as we approach this year’s biggest sporting event.