DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar will charter two cruise liners to help accommodate football fans during the 2022 World Cup, as the Gulf nation of about 2.7 million people looks for ways to host an expected 1 million visitors.
Fans of all 32 teams in the tournament will effectively be staying in the same city, raising questions over how the country can accommodate them and keep them entertained.
The local organising committee said on Tuesday it has signed an agreement with MSC Cruises to charter two liners with a combined capacity of 4,000 cabins which will be used as floating hotels for fans.
The committee has promised that there will be enough accommodation for everyone and that alcohol - currently only obtainable at a handful of places at prohibitive prices - would be more made widely available.
The committee said in a statement that the ships will be berthed at Doha Port throughout the month-long tournament.
“Chartering cruise liners for fans has long been part of Qatar’s accommodation strategy, with the country keen to offer sustainable solutions,” it said. It did not say whether alcohol would be available on board.
Shuttle buses will take fans to the metro - which is so far only partially complete.
The committee said other accommodation options will include apartments and fan villages in the desert as well as hotels.
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Hugh Lawson