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CI DJ describes life in Qatar

CI DJ describes life in Qatar

Monday 21 November 2022

CI DJ describes life in Qatar

Monday 21 November 2022

A radio presenter who has worked across Guernsey and Jersey is in Qatar and has told us what life is like as he works at what the controversial World Cup.

Marc Curtis, a Jersey man, has worked at the BBC across the islands, as well as at both Channel Island commercial radio stations, Island FM and Channel 103. He was also the resident DJ at popular St Helier nightspot Chambers for many years.

He has previously worked in Islamic countries so he knew what to expect when he signed up for a winter working for QBS Radio - a Qatari government owned, English speaking radio station. 

He's been there since early October, ahead of the football tournament starting this week, and he's told Express what life has been like in Qatar.

qatar marc curtis

Pictured: He's often working in either Guernsey or Jersey, but this winter Marc Curtis is in Qatar.

"I am working on the World Cup, analysing each match and putting together World Cup updates," Mr Curtis explained.

"The atmosphere to the build up was a bit slow but in the past week it has been amazing. Thousands of fans from all over the world are arriving everyday. No alcohol is allowed in the stadiums but that hasn’t affected the excitement or enjoyment.

"First match (yesterday) Qatar v Ecuador, which Ecuador won 2 - 0, but the atmosphere was amazing. There is a real buzz here now especially in the fan zones."

Addressing the widespread news reports around some of the rules in Qatar, including last week's decision to ban alcohol sales within the World Cup stadiums, Mr Curtis said it is not causing the problems in Qatar that some people may have been predicting.

There's been "no trouble whatsoever," he said, "all the fans are mingling and enjoying the party."

As an England supporter himself, who is known to enjoy a nice cold pint, Mr Curtis said other fans have all been very accepting of the rules in the Islamic country.

"The reaction in Qatar by the fans on the ban of beer in the stadiums has been good, you can get a drink before and after in the fan zones or in one of the many bars nearby, there have been very few complaints," he said.

"There are no other rules to really talk about, it is an Islamic country and you have to abide by their rules, if you behave you won’t have a problem."

Mr Curtis also acknowledged some of the reporting around the facilities and visitor services in Qatar - many of which have been built, or introduced, especially for the World Cup and the travelling fans supporting each nation. 

Qatar World Cup Marc Curtis

Pictured: He's a Sunderland and England fan, but Marc Curtis thinks Brazil will win this year's World Cup.

He said there are plenty of options for fans who have made it to Qatar but who don't have tickets to get into the stadiums. He said there are also lots of places you can get a drink to enjoy while watching the games. 

"In the fan zones there are huge screens to watch all of the matches, and lots of bars selling beer for around £7 a pint which is expensive, but you would pay that in London, or even Guernsey!

"There are huge screens all over Doha for people to watch the football and there are free electric busses to shuttle fans to and from the match, and metro travel is free. You can also get a free SIM card with unlimited data for as long as you are here.

"I haven’t been able to get to any stadiums yet but from what I have heard the facilities are excellent especially for the disabled, they have really done a great job with access and seating. The infrastructure has improved dramatically over the past few years, with new roads, a new improved airport and new buildings, which is all very good for the people of Qatar."

Mr Curtis supports Sunderland, and England, himself. But despite being a football fan, he is in Qatar to work so won't be watching any of the matches at the stadiums and will instead be watching them all from his studio where he'll be reporting on them for the radio listeners.

"I want England to win obviously," he admitted, but I can’t see that happening. I think Brazil will win the World Cup, but I also fancy Belgium to do well."


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