World Cup 2022: Wales fans ditch Qatar for Tenerife

By Paul Martin
BBC News

Published
Media caption,
Bethany Evans was determined to go to the World Cup until she realised the cost

Football fans priced out of a World Cup trip to Qatar plan to enjoy the tournament from... Tenerife.

Bethany Evans suggested the idea on Twitter after having a lightbulb moment on realising the cost of going.

She said she has had "a plane full" of interest in response as people look to recreate a Wales-on-tour vibe elsewhere.

Football Supporters' Association Cymru's Vince Alm said Tenerife and Cyprus were popular with Wales fans.

Wales qualified for their first World Cup in 64 years after beating Ukraine in a play-off this month.

Their three group games are against the USA, Iran and England in Qatari capital Doha between 21 and 29 November in a 40,000-capacity stadium.

Football Association of Wales (FAW) chief Noel Mooney said last week Wales was due to get 3,200 tickets per game, or 8% of the stadium, but were hoping for more.

Match tickets go on sale from Fifa on 5 July.

The plan to hold the competition in Qatar has come under fire because of the country's poor human rights record, including it being illegal to be gay.

Image caption,
Bethany Evans suggested the idea on Twitter after a lightbulb moment

Bethany Evans, from from Nelson, Caerphilly county, told Wales Live her first thought after the nation qualified was: "I need to get out there."

The cost soon became a barrier.

"The cheapest I could price it up for was £3,500-£4,000," the 25-year-old said.

"Plan B came around from a bit of a joke really.

"There was a post in one of the Cardiff City forums that was talking about people going to Qatar and the cost of things, and somebody said wouldn't it be really funny if we all got together in Benidorm or Tenerife."

People liked the idea - after posting about it on Twitter, Ms Evans said "it got a lot more traction than I ever thought it was going to".

So far 16 have booked and 100 others have shown interest.

"It's just about bringing people together so that we can experience that Wales-away feeling," Ms Evans said.

Mr Alm said some Wales supporters worried Qatar's strict laws would stop them having fun.

Image caption,
Vince Alm said some Wales supporters worried Qatar's strict laws would stop them having fun

He said: "The football community, for me, is when you get five or six countries' supporters maybe just pitch up in a town or city centre somewhere, where they're crossing over to go to other cities, and they spend the night together, buying beers for each other, singing on the karaoke, buying each other pizzas and stuff like that.

"That will all be lost in Doha."

Football coach Ross Struel Clarke, from Swansea, moved to Doha a few months ago.

He was "so proud" to see the Wales flag go up on Doha's waterfront promenade, called the Corniche, after they qualified.

For those travelling to Qatar and not Tenerife, he advised Wales fans to respect the culture and not be too rowdy.

"In and around Qatar, if you go to Souq Waqif (marketplace), the Corniche or West Bay, just be a bit mindful of your actions," he said.

Image caption,
Elin Thomas is paying between £2,500 and £3,000 for her trip to Doha

Cardiff's Elin Thomas has decided not to risk missing Wales at the World Cup, despite the expense and her concerns about Qatar.

She is paying between £2,500 and £3,000 for her trip to Doha and is confident she'll get match tickets.

"What we've got as a team and as a Red Wall is absolutely awesome," said Ms Thomas.

A spokesman for the tournament's organising committee said Qatar was on track to ensure fans could book an affordable place to stay which "guarantees a great World Cup experience".

"Our accommodation capabilities have been designed to cope with the demand of any ticketed fan looking to book a room," it said.

Wales Live is on BBC One Wales at 10:35 BST on Wednesday and on BBC iPlayer

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