A huge fire has broken out in the World Cup city of Lusail in Qatar, with plumes of black smoke rising into the sky right next to one of the country’s fan villages.
The tower of smoke can be seen rising across the fan village, named Qetaifan Island North, and could be seen from the capital of Doha.
Officials said the blaze broke out in a building under construction in the city.
Authorities sought to reassure fans and residents in a tweet posted just after 10am, but video posted on social media showed that the fire was visible from miles away.
A huge fire broke out in a building very close to the fan village in Lusail, Qatar
The plume of smoke could be seen drifting across the World Cup accommodation and was visible from miles away
Images show the village, which is made up of canvas tents, in the city of Lusail, to the north of capital Doha on Qatar’s east coast.
The Qatari government spent billions of pounds building up Lusail prior to the World Cup beginning in the country last week. It is thought the city received £40 billion of investment, much of which went into building new hotels, venues and tourist attractions.
The fire, which started just after noon local time, was located on an island in Lusail around two miles from the city’s stadium.
The venue is to see Lionel Messi star in a highly-anticipated match between Argentina and Mexico later today.
It is not thought the fire has caused any disruption to the match, which will kick-off at 7pm UK time.
Authorities said the Civil Defense controlled a fire in a building under construction without any injuries.
Dramatic footage shows the roof of a building on fire near the fan village, but it is not immediately clear what the building under construction was planned to be.
Authorities say the fire is now under control and no casualties have been reported.
The village appears to be just a few hundred metres from the building, and is made up of 1,800 tents, each with two beds and a nightstand only. All bathing facilities are communal.
Prices start from just more than $200 per night, or £170. Visitors are promised access to the Qetai-Fan Beach Festival, as well as two large beaches and water sports.
But fan villages have come under fire in recent weeks due to allegations they are unfinished and vastly overpriced.
Villages closer to the capital have been filled with metal container rooms described as ‘hell boxes’ by builders and guests, with complaints over a lack of facilities and air conditioning.
The fire could be seen from miles away as a whole roof became ablaze to the north of the capital Doha
Authorities sought to reassure fans and residents in a tweet posted just after 10am, but video posted on social media showed the scale of the smoke
Lusail’s new stadium has already hosted high profile matches including between Brazil and Serbia
The Qatari government spent billions of pounds on construction projects in Lusail (pictured), but many remain unfinished
One development which has been completed is the Crescent Tower, pictured on Thursday after the World Cup kicked off
The Lusail stadium is one of eight World Cup match venues in Qatar, but the nation has come under fire due to thousands of deaths during construction works
Qatar has reportedly spent up to £185 billion on infrastructure works in the run-up to the World Cup, but has seen fierce criticism after it emerged around 6,500 migrant workers are thought to have died while building the tournament’s venues.
Much of this money was spent on Lusail, which had a brand new stadium built from scratch for the occasion.
The city, which is the second largest city in Qatar with 200,000 workers, is located in the southern part of the municipality of Al Daayen.
But not everything in the city was completed on time for the event, including a huge waterslide which was supposed to be the largest in the world.
It is the latest incident in a scandal-filled tournament which has seen last-minute booze bans, unexpected results on the pitch and criticism over the nation’s strict rules on LGBT+ and women’s rights.
In another embarrassment for the country on Saturday the official streaming platform of the World Cup was inaccessible in much of Saudi Arabia, where many fans are staying.
The platform, Tod TV, is owned by the Qatari broadcaster beIN Media Group, which was banned in Saudi Arabia for several years during a row between the two countries but was restored in October 2021.
‘Due to matters beyond our control, we are experiencing an outage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is currently impacting TOD.tv, the official streaming partner of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Additional information will be provided as soon as it is available,’ beIN said in a message sent to partners and subscribers.
The Saudi government did not respond to a request for comment about the disruption, while beIN declined to comment.
On Friday it emerged that Qatari officials interrupted a second live media broadcast after previously being slammed for threatening to smash up a Danish reporter’s camera.
They told an Argentinian journalist to stop filming as he interviewed a football fan in a wheelchair.
A tall man in Arabic robes and headdress ordered Joaquin Alvarez to show him his Press pass before instructing the cameraman to point his lens away.
Colleagues from the studio back in Buenos Aires said ‘this is what the Qatar government is like’ as they expressed concern at what was happening live in Doha.
This story is being updated.