In his dress down to the last detail, the great rais of world football promised to swear to us during of the draw : the Worldwide in Qatar will be “the most beautiful World Cup in history” or not. The day before, in an interview with AFP, his great friend Noël Le Graët said he was “very happy to play in Qatar”. However, when you talk to supporters, it’s not the same music at all.
After meeting with the Supreme Committee, the organizing committee of the World Cup, Anne Costes swallowed her herbal tea the wrong way when she learned of the pricing and reception conditions in Doha next winter. “I was surprised, I expected, given the pots and pans they have in the field of human rights, that they would be organizationally flawless. Although actually not at all, nothing goes right,” the vice president of Irresistible Frenchthe main group of supporters of the Blues.
A ticket system that will make you cringe
Far more expensive tickets than four years ago in Russia, too few (and too expensive) accommodations to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of supporters from around the world and, as icing on the cake, an unprecedented ticketing system that makes upstream organization almost impossible. After opening a first session of ticket sales for random matches, and thus aimed at an audience less involved with football on a daily basis, the supporters – the real ones, if we dare say – couldn’t launch their ticket hunt until last Tuesday.
Problem, with the new draw system set up by the FIFA, supporters will have to wait until May 31 to see if their reservation has been validated. “Only from there, when we have our order number, can we book our accommodation”, explains Anne Costes. But is there still accommodation available on this date? And if so, at what price? †
The whole problem is there. While it is currently possible to find (spartan) accommodation at more or less affordable prices, it risks being overrun by those who have taken advantage of the sale to the general public, leaving traditional supporters on the sidelines. Once the homestays are booked, most of the troop have a choice of rooms on MSC liners or in the overpriced luxury hotels.
Oh, there will also be 5,000 camping spots in the middle of the desert, but it’s still light enough to sleep the 1.2 million tourists expected by the organizing committee. † On the website there is only a picture of a tent on a dune in the desert… We have members aged 60, 70, we are not going to let them sleep on a bad mattress in an igloo tent for a month! ‘, the vice-chairman of the IF chokes. Contacted by 20 minutes“For its part, the FFF thinks it is premature to talk about support for supporters because nothing concrete or acted has been done. The Federation is waiting for good information about housing. She also works with two agencies that try to provide the most interesting prices possible. “We are in regular contact with them, but they are just like us, they don’t have a lot of information and they are carried around a bit,” Costes sympathizes.
Budget up, attendance down
With an entry price of 100-150 euros per head of pipe and per night, count on a supporter who has decided to follow his team to the end… If the Blues went to the final, a Frenchman would have to join the low word 6,000 euros to get out of his quilt. That’s double what the Tricolor fans paid for the Worldwide in Russia† And then we’re only talking about the price for airline tickets, competitions and accommodation. “I don’t know if they realize what such amounts mean to normal people in quotes,” Anne Costes hallucinates.
Responsible for announcing the painful news to its members, the latter said he was “disappointed”. “Although, in the IF office, we already had a few bits of information, most of our members discovered everything at once. We are clearly disgusted by many people,” she says helplessly. On arrival, very few historic supporters will be able to afford to make the trip to cheer on the Blues.
“We were in Russia with 600 IF,” she continues. If there are 50-100 this year, it will be quite a few. To give you an example, of the fourteen people who make up the association’s office, nine went to Russia. Today there is only one…”
We therefore run the risk of ending up in a more scarce French car park than a Nicolas Dupont-Aignan encounter. We exaggerate (barely). At the FI’s we even wonder if the organizers aren’t going to fill the empty spaces with locals to whom we would give tricolor flags. “We risk a selection on money. Due to the issue of housing, the organizers show the lack of interest in supporters. The public is the last priority. The idea is that whatever we do, we will always find people to go there,” Ronan Evain, President of Football Supporters Europe, analyzed with our colleagues fromWest France†
After the Marseillais in Dubai, these are the influencers in Doha
From the top of its ivory tower, FIFA will not be fooled. She soon realized that if she didn’t want to end up with empty stadiums in mondovision, she needed to target a different audience than traditionally at a World Cup. Secure France InfoFabian Tosolini, another IF, summed up the minds’ strategy as follows: “It’s a World of the rich, of Tik Tok and Instagram influencers”.
To lure what Ronan Evain calls “premium tourism,” the Supreme Committee rolled out the red carpet to influencers around the world to promote it. Thus, these new breed of VRPs were invited for a week at the expense of the princess (or here, the Emir Al Thani) to discover all that Qatar had to offer. On the menu: stadium visits, museums, quad biking in the desert, photo shoots and social events.
For example, the Senegalese Jaaw Ketchup, 1.4 million subscribers on Instagram, ended up in Doha with 24 other influencers from all over the world. In exchange for this fully paid week, “we had to share that with our community so that they get fully involved in this World Cup,” he explains. If the benefits of such a communications operation cannot be quantified for FIFA and Qatar, they are for Jaaw Ketchup.
“We got to know the other influencers, it enabled us to win over other target groups from different countries. In my audience, 77% come from Senegal, 5% France, 4% Italy… And it increased with my participation in this draw. There was a higher return than normal, the statistics showed. †
If not an influencer, David was also traveling after winning his ticket in a fan contest. When he assures there was “no obligation to create content, just an incentive,” this member of the Qatar Fan Leader Network, founded by the Supreme Committee, knows that he participated in a com’ turnkey. “Everyone uses everyone,” he puts it into perspective. Yes, it suited them well that we were there to share what we were doing. Then, as long as everything is clear…” When invited to do the same, the Irresistibles Français declined the offer. And Anne Costes concludes: “It was impossible to do the communication of the World Cup. We want to maintain our independence and our freedom of expression on unpleasant topics. The thing where you have to say “Qatar is too big”, no, never. †