The Fifa World Cup 2014 has come as a pre-vacation bonanza for football fans in Qatar. This time, the event held once in four years has begun just ahead of school summer vacations, which will allow them to watch the games relaxedly.
The fact that nearly all the matches will be telecast starting in the evening is the icing on the cake. The timings have made football fans happy because they will not have to take leave from work to watch the games.
“The best thing about the World Cup this time for me is the timing of the matches. All the matches will be telecast during the night. Had the telecast been during the day, I would have had to take leave from office to watch matches,” said football fan Touseef Hussain, a Najma resident.
“I was nervous about the schedule of the World Cup matches, but when the schedule was announced some months back, I heaved a sigh of relief. I watched the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday and I am happy that I will be able to enjoy other matches as well,” he added.
The tournament, which is being played in Brazil from June 12 to July 13, is being aired live in Qatar between 8pm and 4am.
Football is probably the most popular sport across the globe, and nearly half the world’s population, well over three billion spectators, are expected to watch 32 teams play 67 games in total during the World Cup.
Students are also happy with the timing of the matches because their schools will close in the first week of July, which will allow them to watch the final stages of the tournament without drawing their parent’s wrath. Parents will also be relieved that their children do not have to attend school the next day, and can allow the kids to watch the matches late into the night.
“The good thing this time is that I will not have the tension of attending school the next day, as some important matches will be during the vacation. So I will be able to enjoy the matches without worrying about the next day. It is good for the students that the final, semi-finals and other matches are falling during the vacations,” said Ahmad Niaz, a class 10 student at Shantiniketan Indian School.
Ahmad, a die-hard football fan, has subscribed to a special Ooredoo package to watch live telecast of the World Cup matches.
The World Cup also bodes well for business. Restaurants, hotels and pubs are cashing in on the World Cup frenzy and screening matches at special venues. Some cafes are levying additional fees on customers who want to watch the matches on large screens at these venues.
Shops selling sports goods have seen a surge in sale of football-related goods — another proof that the magic of the World Cup has cast its spell on Qatar.