Monday, January 31, 2011

Asian Cup Ridiculousness: The Story Continues

My third post on the same subject. Sorry, I just can't let this one go. It is on my mind. It makes me furious. I am particularily frustrated by the response of organizers. Get a load of this one:

"We said to the spectators, 'come early'. Unfortunately, yesterday we had to close the gates for security reasons," he said, adding that around 3,000 fans were locked out.

"Most of the people outside were without tickets, which was causing a problem. We feel sorry for the people not having a ticket. I hope this will not give a bad impression about the tournament. We were hoping we would not have anything like this happen, but it happened, and you can't satisfy everybody."


What? Huh? Run that by me again? Did you just blame the fans who weren't there on time, or at least your version of on time?? Since when is anyone in Qatar on time for anything?? When, exactly, did you guys tell people to get there early? I certainly never heard anything like that. Most of the people outside were without tickets?? Uh uh. Most of the people outside HAD tickets because you fuckers gave their seats away! Bad impression of the tournament?? Do I have a bad impression? DAMN RIGHT I do! Lies, lies and other crap used to justify pathetic behaviour. How arrogant and utterly unprofessional. There were people locked out that had flown to Qatar just for this event. There were people out there who had bought tickets at full price months ago. What were you idiots thinking?? Shame on the organizers. Shame on the AFC. Shame on FIFA. Shame on Qatar. Stop with the lies. Stop with the alternate reality you are trying to create. Own up to the screw up. Refund all those who did not get it, and all of those who actually paid for tickets. Repay flight and hotel costs for those who came from out of town to watch the game. And then forfeit the World Cup and give it to a country that wouldn't pull this shit.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Asian Cup Ridiculousness #2

Okay, so, I bought a ticket to go see the Asian Cup final in Doha, Qatar about a month before the game, which was held last night. I paid 35QR for said ticket. Fair enough, not a bad price, really. Last night, I go to the game between Australia and Japan at Khalifa Stadium. I get in only to find that they were letting everyone and anyone in free, without a ticket. No one cared about my ticket. Why did I pay 35QR for this ticket again? Why were people who paid nothing getting better seats? Made no sense. When I got into the stadium, it was just stupid. I went to find my seat and was just told to sit anywhere, to go in any gate and just get a seat. Okay, well, fine, I got in, I got a seat, and I watched the game. Well, apparently, not long after I had gotten in, they shut the gates, leaving about 3000 fans, many of them holding a ticket for the game, locking them out. This included people who had traveled from Australia and Japan for said game. Needless to say, they were unhappy, and, according to reports, there was some roughness between some fans and the police. No explanation was given as to why they were not allowed in. The gates were just shut. At the end of the game? If you were still there when the award ceremony started, you were in until the gates reopened. I left before the final goal. But others were locked into the stadium at the end of the game to watch an awards ceremony and fireworks. Of course, people were told that gates would be closed until 15 minutes AFTER the end of the fireworks "for your safety". So, why did all of this take place? Well, Sepp Blatter and the Emir were in attendance for starters. It's clear that they wanted as many people in seats as possible before the game got under way to show that they could get the fans. Unfortunately, that meant that anyone deemed late was left outside. When has anyone in Qatar been on time for anything? Apparently, for this one event, everyone was supposed to be there and in their seats well before kick off. They closed the gate 45 minutes before the game started. What? Why?? That makes no sense. Then, the fans locked out are blamed by the organizers for not being on time? What? Huh?? It was the fans fault that you gave away the seats they paid for to other people for FREE in order to look good in front of the FIFA president, the Emir and TV cameras?? Yes, that, once again, is the way things are done here. Window dressing. They don't care about the fans. They care about looking good. They care about looking like they can host a World Cup while clearly showing that they can't. Why did I pay for a ticket I shouldn't have paid for? Why did people pay for tickets and hotels and then be shut out of the game? Then, THEN, to add insult to injury, they showed the number of fans in attendance on the big screen. It was something like 37,500 people. How did they come up with this number? Whose butt was this pulled out of?? No one was checking tickets. Everyone was just being shuffled in as fast as possible into seats. How they could have possibly got some exact count of the number of people were in the stadium is beyond me. And, another question comes up. Estimates were that 3000 people were locked out. The stadium holds about 40,000. That means 2,500 seats were empty. That isn't all that far off of the number of people stuck outside of the stadium. Does this make sense? Of course not! Why would it make sense? Overall, it was a disgusting display. What is going to happen when the World Cup comes?? I can't imagine 3000 England fans being told they can't attend a game when they have tickets in their hands, can you? This was a disgrace and Qatar and the organizers should be ashamed.

Here are some news stories on the whole affair for your reading enjoyment.

Asian Cup Ridiculousness #1

I wrote this a while ago, but never posted it. Here it is, in all it's outdated glory:

The AFC Asian Cup is being hosted this year by Qatar. On July 14th, I took in a great game where Australia and South Korea played an intense match to a 1-1 tie. It was a joy to experience. It’s just too bad that all who wanted to attend were not allowed in. My friend and I took our two kids to see their first football game. We had no problem getting tickets. Then, five young Nepalese labourers attempted to get tickets. They were told that only “family and ladies” tickets were left. They asked me what to do. I didn’t have an answer. They looked confused. I figured that the stadium must be pretty packed if they were just down to one section reserved for families. When we entered the stadium, I saw the reality. It wasn’t packed at all. There were all kinds of empty seats. Then, it was announced that attendance was 15,000 people in a stadium with capacity for 25,000. My friend and I were in the “family” section, where there were several groups of Arab and Western men. Our supposed “family section” was not a family section at all.  It was a general seating area. So, why on earth would five workers be denied entry into a stadium with 10,000 empty seats? That is the way it is in malls, in parks and anywhere else that labourers are not wanted. These young men are the very ones who will be building the stadiums, the roads, the infrastructure needed to put on the World Cup when Qatar hosts it in 2022. But, how many of these workers be allowed into the stadiums? They work long hours in brutal conditions, live in squalid conditions and tend to earn very low wages. Often, their passports are taken away, and they are subject to a system that essentially makes them slaves to their employers. The very people who are building Qatar are outcasts and discriminated against.  And when they try to go to malls, parks and tourist areas they are turned away. Apparently, the same goes for some of these foreign workers who try to go to Asian Cup football matches. The Asian Federation Cup is proving to be a games where only select fans are permitted to attend, despite the fact organizers would like to have full stadiums. It makes no sense. What will happen when the World Cup arrives in 2022?