For the first time in football history, Qatar, an Arab and Muslim-majority country, will host the FIFA World Cup. The games are scheduled in the winter instead of summer because of the high temperatures in the Middle East. From November 21 to December 18, 2022, the best teams in the world will compete for the world title during the Christmas season, a departure from the usual summer window.
The FIFA World Cup in 2022 in Qatar will be one of the most controversial World Cups in the history of football. Even Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup wasn’t deemed as controversial as the decision to award the tournament to Qatar. In this article, we look at what to expect from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
8 stadiums and 32 teams
Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup in 8 different stadiums. Before Qatar was announced as the host country, only two stadiums existed; the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha and the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in ar-Rayyan. Since then, six additional stadiums have been built, purely for the 2022 World Cup.
The estimated budget for the stadiums is $3 billion and the longest distance between the eight grounds is just 34 miles (65km), while the shortest is as little as three. Thus, supporters have the opportunity to attend multiple matches on the same day.
Although an expanded World Cup with 48 countries was initially proposed by Gianni Infantino for commercial reasons, the World Cup in Qatar will now include just 32 teams, keeping to tradition. UEFA has the largest contingent with 13 countries participating but the identities of the World Cup 2022 qualifiers are not known yet.
Dealing with the heat
Initially the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was supposed to be held in the summer. However, it soon became apparant that the summer temperatures in Qater are so severe that it would be dangerous for players and fans alike.
Even though it will take place in winter now, temperatures still rise significantly in Qatar during the ‘cold’ months. To combat this, Qatar presented plans for gigantic cooling systems to cool stadiums and training areas from outside temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius to between 20 and 25 degrees. Air conditioning grates would be located around the entire field inside the stadium and would continuously blow cold air over the field.
Despite initially receiving praise, the proposals were soon being criticised for ecological reasons and were, eventually, scrapped. Now Qatar will develop and use eco-friendly technologies to cool the stadiums during the 2022 World Cup. These developments can also come in handy for other events.
After the 2022 World Cup, the stadiums will be reduced in size and utilized as permanent stadiums for regional clubs.
As futuristic as these stadiums appear to the casual observer, they have come at a severe and extremely tragic cost. Many have criticized the appalling conditions in which the construction workers had to work to build the stadiums. The extreme heat and lack of security measures have allegedly resulted in hundreds of work accidents during construction in recent years, according to human rights organizations. The number of deaths that have resulted from this are unconfirmed but are Though in a document of more than a hundred pages, Qatar has promised better labour rights, innovative solutions for environmental problems and economic development.
To westerners, the dress code in Qatar may seem strict, especially for women, but it is crucial to respect the local culture and the traditions of a Muslim-majority country. The Qatar 2022 organization is promising to have plenty to offer in terms of attractions and activities for visiting football fans. Qatar wants to use the World Cup to present the country and Arab culture positively with the Museum of Islamic Art, the National Museum of Qatar and the Katara Mosque as key tourist destinations.