Qatar is considering putting up spectators at the 2022 World Cup in vast tents in the desert as falling oil prices cause delays to the country’s plans to build hotels for the tournament.
Around 500,000 fans are expected to attend the World Cup and Qatar officials believe traditional Bedouin tents could offer alternative accommodation with an authentic Gulf flavour.
“At the heart of this World Cup is a commitment to showcase the hospitality and friendship of the Middle East,” said a spokesperson for Qatar’s World Cup Supreme Committee. “As a result, we are actively researching the concept of supporters sleeping under the stars.”
Qatar has downgraded its estimate for the number of hotel rooms it plans to create for the World Cup from 55,000 – its 2010 figure – to 46,000. It says it is on track to provide the minimum 60,000 required by world governing body Fifa. Its population was 2.2m in 2013.
Some supporters could also be housed in docked cruise ships in order to cope with demand for beds, Qatar has said. The tournament has already been moved from summer to winter because of extreme heat.