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Movie Synopsis

Qatar’s censorship trimmed Leonardo DiCaprio

Downtimes have so far been rare. Such is the rush and relentlessness of the early days of any World Cup, let alone this most condensed one.

However, in the early hours of Tuesday, after making the arduous trek back from Al Khor to our base in Doha, we turned on the TV. Perhaps to guess at a local reaction to the hosts’ implosion, or perhaps just for background noise while we devoured four street samosas that were clearly having a very long day as well.

But the channel that popped up right away was Qatar’s English-language film network, and Marty Scorsese’s masterpiece about drugs, sex and financial corruption, Wolf of Wall Street, was on. Which seemed pretty fitting! However, this was the Qatari edit and the local censors had their way with it. It was hard to tell what they had left behind. Our Synopsis: Leonardo DiCaprio zips around in a hilarious 45 minute story about a successful businessman unfairly harassed by the FBI.

All to the vulvadome

As the eighth game of the tournament, all host cities will host a game in Tuesday night’s France-Australia clash. The last thing that will welcome the world is the Al Janoub Stadium south of Doha in Al Wakrah.

You may already know this. When construction was completed and an evocative promotional video was released, the attention was not on the “curvilinear and postmodern design inspired by the sails of local dhow boats” but on the fact that it absolutely positively resembles a 700 million Dollar monument looked to the scabbard. The examiner could just call it the vulvadome and see if it lifts. In case you haven’t read Marina Hyde’s hypothesis The guard however the design process may have gone, do yourself a favour.

Amid European fear, Qatar rolls on

We’re all fed up with geopolitics, but it’s not going anywhere. It hasn’t gone anywhere in a dozen years…why would it now?

It also helps explain a lot of what’s going on, as Qatar and FIFA are flexing their muscles a bit more on issues they previously seemed more receptive to discussion and criticism.

Thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Qatar’s economic prospects have never been better. Europe and the West need it now, more specifically its gas, more than ever in the 12 years since the country won this event.

On Monday, as Europe was in turmoil, the host country agreed a landmark liquefied natural gas deal with China. For 27 years, the longest in history, it’s been worth $60 billion. Should help pay for the unused Budweiser tab.

Anyone for shrimp sandwiches?

Speaking of banned alcohol, the VIP and company box remains the only place in the stadiums where you can get a pint on match day.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the boxes are packed. A few days ago, a friendly representative of one of the tournament’s biggest sponsors sneaked into the FIFA Media Center and offered a voucher for a coffee and a snack. Really very friendly.

Then they asked if we might be interested in some playing cards. No old playing cards. “We have plenty of spare tickets for our boxes in Lusail,” was the general summary. Of course, our ethics would never allow us to accept such a gift. But we gently let them down and promised to check back in. An unusual encounter, but perhaps also revealing.

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