Crowded fan zone turns thousands away before Qatar World Cup qualifiers
As Qatar prepares to host the 2022 World Cup, its home crowd is turning away before games from this summer.
On Tuesday, thousands were forced to leave the country’s only fan zone after security was stepped up in a bid to quell panic from local football fans.
The opening game of the Gulf nations’ qualifying group against Oman is a mere hour away and fans were left stunned when gate access was restricted to fans without tickets.
Some fans even took to social media complaining of being kicked out of the ground and asking for tickets before the teams even appeared on the pitch.
In recent months, there has been an increased security presence in Qatar to prevent fans from running amok, following the events of summer’s World Cup.
Khadija Hassan, a fan who tried to reach a ticket barrier at the Al Jazeera Arena, said: “Security is not enough.
“Security is doing nothing for the event.”
Qatar is hosting the 2022 World Cup and fears of fan unrest, following the events of the summer’s tournament in Russia, has led to increased security.
In July, a fire destroyed the roof of the Al Jazeera Arena and also sparked safety fears amid rumours that it was being used as a meeting place for fanatical football supporters as well as those seeking to prevent the tournament from taking place.
Fans were also forced out of the country’s football ground in a riot after the national team were forced to train in Qatar for a month.
The first World Cup meeting between Australia and Qatar was held there in September where the team’s goalkeeper and coach were banned from the country.
Fans were also banned from visiting the national stadium during the qualifying campaign, with security guards being stationed at stands every time a fan went into the ground for a match.
On Tuesday, fans complained that restrictions had increased.
Hassan said: “I think security is not enough.”
“At least people should be allowed to go to the stadium,” he added.
A statement issued by the Al Jazeera Arena later said: “All fans who can will be coming to the pitch. We have opened the gate to all fans without tickets