The World Cup hotel protects England from fans and Qatar’s labor violations | Qatar

FFrom the glittering towers of Doha, on a road lined with narrow fast-food outlets and down a bumpy lane that leads to the beach, stands the hotel that will host the England team in world Cup.

When David Beckham and Gary Neville Visit Recently, the initial reaction of the former players has been less enthusiastic. “Who chose this?” Neville’s assessment was candid, as they stood in front of the entrance to the humble Al Wakrah Souq Hotel.

But what the hotel lacks in glamor it makes up for in privacy. High walls surround the place, which is built in the traditional style of the market that surrounds it. The rooms are arranged around small courtyards to preserve the privacy of the guests. There are a few externally facing windows; The only view of the beach is from the rooftop seating area.

Once inside, Beckham was even more optimistic. “You want to be in the middle of nowhere,” he said as he strolled the hotel grounds. “This is the perfect setting.”

Entrance to Souq Al Wakra Hotel. Photography: Pete Pattison/The Guardian

The beach front has the feel of a shabby English seaside town, only hotter. As temperatures drop in the evening, families come to swim in the sea or ride camels along the beach.

Back inside, the hotel staff seemed excited at the prospect of hosting England’s best footballers. “Do you know England Will the team stay here? They have booked the entire hotel. David Beckham came – I served him,” says an Indian waiter eagerly.

“No alcohol allowed. We are a dry hotel,” he adds, noting that privacy isn’t the only reason team manager, Gareth Southgate, prefers the hotel.

For footballers accustomed to outrageous luxury, it is a modest choice, four stars more than five. Standard rooms are small. There are few amenities, limited dining options and no swimming pool (December is not swimming season in Qatar). Rooms are available from around £70 per night.

While 24 of the 32 teams will be stationed in the tournament within 6 miles (10 km) of each other In Doha, the England Hotel is located in the small town of Al Wakra, a 25-minute drive south of the capital. Outside the beach and market, there is not much to see or do, but in a small country like Qatar, nothing is too far away.

The designated training ground in England is located a few minutes from the hotel. The home stadium, where England can play most of their matches, is the furthest of the eight stadiums from the hotel, but still less than an hour’s drive away.

Sitting in the hotel’s main courtyard, with gurgling fountains in the background, Beckham – who is said to have signed millions of pounds Deal To promote Qatar – tell Neville what it will be like to have a “great experience” at the World Cup. “This is going to be a tournament you won’t want to miss,” he said.

Courtyard with pool, fountains and palms
The main courtyard of the Al Wakra Souq Hotel. The design is designed to ensure the privacy of the guests. Photography: Pete Pattison/The Guardian

However, while the England squad may be able to escape the fan frenzy in their seaside haven, they won’t be able to avoid the shadow of labor abuse that will fall at this World Cup.

In the market outside and along the seaside promenade, security guards from places like Kenya, Nepal and Pakistan take on 12-hour shifts for £1 an hour. They say they work 30 days a month. Someone says, “If I take a day off, they cut my salary.”

They say they were all forced to Pay exorbitant fees Up to £1,360 – for agents in their home countries to secure their jobs, which means they have to work for months just to pay off the costs.

Recent fixes Labor laws in Qatar – Promoted by FIFA PresidentGianni Infantino – It should mean they are free to change jobs and look for something better, but workers who have spoken to the Guardian say that is impossible.

The company won’t let us leave. They tell us we have to cancel our visas, go home and then apply for another job.

Near the hotel, there is a Kenyan security guard, in the middle of another 12-hour shift, who has a different approach than Beckham. He explains that his salary is much less than what he promised when he left home.

“It’s a trap, because you were told one thing in Kenya and another in Qatar,” he says. “There is nothing you can do. Just keep quiet and carry on.”

Under Qatar Labor Law, foreign workers have the right to change jobs if their contract is terminated and legal procedures are in place if the employee does not receive his salary or bonuses at the end of his contract.

The Qatari government also said a fund to support workers, including by paying unpaid wages or benefits, paid 152.5 million pounds by last month.

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