Crowded fan zone turns thousands away ahead of World Cup in Qatar

Crowded fan zone turns thousands away ahead of World Cup in Qatar

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Authorities on Saturday night turned away thousands of fans from a concert celebrating the World Cup starting the next day in Qatar, showing the challenges ahead for Doha as it tries to manage crowds in the FIFA’s most compact tournament.

Disappointed fans were largely turned away in the aftermath. Once away from the site, Qatari police, security guards and others guided the thousands with giant foam fingers, megaphones and flashing traffic control wands.

But the concert comes before the 1.2 million fans expected for the tournament fully arrive in the Arabian Peninsula country.

And as Qatar only decided on Friday to ban beer sales in tournament stadiums, fan zones like the Corniche fan zone hosting the concert will be the only FIFA-associated area serving pints, meaning that more fans could relate to it.

“We know what the police say here is worth it,” said a 30-year-old truck driver from Mumbai, who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals. He and his friends had had a rare day off from Hamad port to walk 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to the fan zone before being turned away.

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