MIKE KEEGAN: All the glamour and glitz at the 2034 FIFA World Cup in Saudi Arabia... but there will be no booze for fans

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  • FIFA has confirmed Saudi Arabia arsenic nan sole bidder for nan 2034 World Cup
  • Saudi Arabia is committing vast sums connected infrastructure ahead of nan tournament
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By Mike Keegan For The Daily Mail

Published: 18:31 EDT, 31 October 2023 | Updated: 18:36 EDT, 31 October 2023

Even earlier FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed it, they’d been readying for a World Cup successful Saudi Arabia. The truth is that they had been doing truthful for immoderate time.

As you publication this, unimaginable sums are being spent successful a onshore wherever money is nary object.

In Dammam, adjacent to nan separator pinch Bahrain, activity has commenced connected a stadium which will beryllium vanished successful clip for nan 2027 Asian Cup and which will nary uncertainty play a cardinal domiciled 11 years from now.

Significant upgrades are being carried retired to different 2 stadiums successful Riyadh and 1 successful Jeddah. More will follow.

A vast, futuristic metro strategy for Riyadh, which is apt to beryllium nan main hub of nan tournament, is besides nether construction. The cost? More than £18billion.

FIFA person confirmed Saudi Arabia arsenic nan sole bidding federation for nan 2034 World Cup

Saudi Arabia are making important investments into stadiums up of nan 2034 World Cup

Vast infrastructure projects are presently underway successful a federation wherever money is nary object

Over astatine Riyadh’s airport, a seen-to-be-believed hold is nether measurement arsenic portion of a mega-project that will impact nary less than six caller runways built.

They are expecting 120 cardinal passengers a twelvemonth by 2030. To put it into context, that is adjacent to doubly nan number who passed done Heathrow past year.

With 11 years to go, location is 1 point you tin opportunity pinch certainty — Saudi will beryllium ready.

This will beryllium a glitzy, glamorous arena pinch world-leading accommodation backed by state-of-the-art infrastructure. However, location are questions which request to beryllium answered. It remains to beryllium seen whether fans will beryllium allowed to portion intoxicant successful stadiums.

In Qatar, infamously, a precocious U-turn by organisers ensured that would not beryllium nan case. However, booze was readily disposable — albeit astatine an almighty costs — successful galore of nan hotels astir Doha.

Some moreover had sports-themed bars successful which punters could descend £10 pints of Heineken while watching World Cup matches.

It was a akin communicative connected nan cruise liners anchored disconnected nan Corniche which hosted galore of nan players’ families and friends.

But Saudi is much blimpish than its neighbour. In my 2 weeks location earlier this twelvemonth astatine nan commencement of nan Pro League season, nan only mention of intoxicant came from those moving nan doors of hotels, who whispered to visitors that they could get their hands connected moonshine.

Saudi Arabia's neighbour Qatar banned intoxicant successful World Cup stadiums successful a past infinitesimal U-turn 

Saudi Arabia has an established shot civilization and is apt to spot good attended matches

Locals judge modernisation is needed by consciousness strides person been made nether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Hotel restaurants served cocktails without nan kick. There were nary bars successful immoderate of nan places wherever I stayed crossed Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

In nan gated compounds, wherever galore of nan westerners live, I was told booze is somewhat much accessible but again, it tended to beryllium of nan homemade variety.

Saudi has an separator connected Qatar successful position of numbers and shot culture. Its organization of adjacent to 36m dwarfs Qatar’s 2.7m. This is simply a shot state pinch a shot culture.

One imagines matches will beryllium good attended crossed nan board. The liking is location and nan ambiance successful nan grounds tin beryllium raucous.

There is immense liking successful nan Premier League. Hearing I was from adjacent Manchester, nan first mobility would often be, ‘United aliases City?’

Most of those I encountered were welcoming and keen to showcase their country.

There was besides an acceptance that modernisation is needed and a position that immense strides had been made nether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud.

However, arsenic pinch Qatar, location whitethorn good beryllium issues complete really welcoming nan acquisition is for all, including members of nan LGBTQ+ community.

No uncertainty location will beryllium promises made up of nan tourney — but location will beryllium understandable uneasiness that is improbable to slice complete nan adjacent decade.


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