World Cup: The Wales fans ditching Qatar for Tenerife

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There are Wales fans "everywhere you look" in Tenerife, says woman who organised mass gathering of supporters

An estimated 2,500 fans have gone to Tenerife instead of Qatar to watch Wales in the World Cup - and the fan who came up with the idea said she is having "the best time".

Bethany Evans said the idea snowballed after she posted it on social media.

She said most fans there were put off a trip to Qatar due to the cost, others because of rules and regulations.

A bar owner who made a fan zone for the USA game said it was "unbelievable".

When Wales qualified for the World Cup, Ms Evans, from Nelson in Caerphilly county, decided going to Qatar would be too expensive. She initially suggested a Tenerife as an alternative as "a bit of a joke."

But the idea went "a bit mad" as more and more people decided to join her.

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When the tournament began in Qatar, Ms Evans said she felt "a little bit gutted" not to be there but as soon as she saw fans having such a good time in Tenerife, she said it was "all I wanted."

"Seeing the photos and the videos (from Qatar) it does look incredible out there but I'm literally having the best time here.

"Seeing my idea come to fruition like this it beats absolutely everything.

"And that bar on Monday night, if you closed your eyes when we were singing the national anthem it was like you were in that game, and that was good enough for me."

Image source, Bethany Evans
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Bethany's dad Mark has travelled with her to Tenerife

Kelly Spiers, from Ballymena in County Antrim, owns two adjacent bars in Playa de las Americas in Tenerife where a lot of the Wales fans watched the USA game.

She and Ms Evans did "a lot of planning" together to turn the bars into a Wales fan zone.

'They have been absolutely fantastic'

Ms Spiers hadn't seen fans from many other countries but said there are people in Wales shirts and red bucket hats "everywhere."

"They (the Wales fans) have been absolutely fantastic."

Image source, Kelly Spiers
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Kelly Spiers says having the Wales fans flood her bars has been "amazing, just epic"

"They've been really good fun, no problems with them whatsoever," added Ms Spiers.

"And when they scored the penalty it was just wow, it was unbelievable, it was really, really emotional.

"They were all singing and dancing and celebrating, and it's just amazing. It's epic."

Ms Evans said most travelling to Tenerife had rejected Qatar on cost grounds, but others were motivated by social issues too.

Discomfort over rules

"There are a lot that chose not to go out there because they didn't feel quite comfortable with some of the rules and the regulations," she said.

"And they would just rather go somewhere that they feel that they can relax and be themselves."

Image source, Bethany Evans
Image caption,
Bethany Evans says the atmosphere in Tenerife has made it feel like she was at the games

She said she's now looking ahead to Friday morning's game against Iran, back at Kelly's fanzone.

"I'm feeling really positive.

"I think (the players) know what they need to do, and they know that they've got everyone behind them, no matter where they are: Wales, Tenerife or Qatar."

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