Qatar is Preparing for the Approaching World Cup

Molten official UEFA Europa League Balls are seen on the net prior to the Uefa Europa League 2021/2022 group C football match between SSC Napoli and Leicester at Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Napoli Italy, December 09th, 2021. Photo Cesare Purini / Insidefoto cesarexpurini

The most anticipated event in the world of football, the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022, is swiftly approaching. With less than five months remaining until the first match of the group stage, which will start on the 21st of November and last until the 2nd of December. After that, the knockout stage will continue between the 3rd and 6th of December, while the quarterfinals will unfold between the 9th and 10th and the semi-finals on the 13th and 14th of December. Finally, the playoff for the third place will take place on the 17th of December, just before the final match on the 18th of December, which also coincides with Qatar’s National Day.

Qatar FIFA to be Held During the Winter Months

If reading the opening paragraph raised a big question in your mind, specifically “Wasn’t the World Cup a summer tournament?”, then don’t worry, you’re not the only one that had that reaction when hearing this. Back in 2010, when Qatar won the bid to host the tournament, authorities reported that the usual summer dates would be kept, despite worries over the high temperatures of up to 50° Celsius usually registered in the region.

While Qatari officials confirmed that all event locations would be equipped with state-of-the-art air conditioning systems, which should help avoid any discomfort resulting from holding the tournament in summer, on the 19th of March 2015, the FIFA committee released a press statement that announced the new dates of the event.

Further controversy arose from the choice of host since Qatar is a nation three-times smaller than the previous holder of the title of “smallest FIFA World Cup host”, which was Switzerland back in ’54. This, however, might be a boon for football fans, given the fact that the distance between stadiums is less than 50 kilometers, they have the opportunity of attending more than one or two matches in a single day.

Speaking of stadiums and attendance, what has Qatar done to accommodate the 32 national teams that qualified for the event and the over 1.2 million sports fans reported to have already bought tickets?

The FIFA Stadiums

When Qatar won the bid in 2010, only one of the nation’s eight stadiums was already built, the other seven being raised from the ground up, especially for hosting the 2022 World Cup events. This number is much smaller than the original 12 stadiums pledged in their bid. Still, officials assure us that the total capacity of the eight venues will be more than enough to accommodate all attendants.

All the eight stadiums have been fitted with state-of-the-art air-conditioning systems both inside and outside because even in winter, temperatures in the region can reach up to 30° Celsius.

The centerpiece of these newly constructed stadiums will arguably be the Lusail Stadium, which will host the tournament final and seat 80,000 fans. Officials state that it will “[…] embody Qatar’s ambition and its passion for sharing Arab culture with the world.” The stadium was specially designed by the British architecture firm Foster + Partners and built in an east-west orientation to keep the field shaded at all times. In addition, the stadium’s shape is inspired by Arab art and culture so much so that the lighting welcoming approaching fans is made to resemble the glow of a fanar lantern.

The Tourist Accommodations

In order to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of football tourists and fans expected to arrive in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, organizers have signed off on construction projects for over two dozen hotels and fan villages. On top of this, two luxury cruise ships operated by Accor are set to provide hotel services as well, but even these are dwarfed in scope and glamor by the city of Lusail.

Besides being home to the stadium which will host the 2022 World Cup Final, Lusail is a wonder of construction and architecture, having been built almost from the ground since 2008. It’s expected to comprise 19 districts, 22 hotels, and other numerous attractions such as theme parks and marinas. On top of all this, several islands will also be built out of the desert, most famous now being The Pearl, which will also be able to host several thousand tourists.

Getting to and from event venues will also be facilitated as Qatar has managed to build an entire metro system in just 6 years, on top of the already existing tram and bus lines.

Where We Are Now

While Qatar’s selection to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup was initially fraught with controversy and doubts, the expectations from such a small nation seemed to be titanic, to say the least. However, it looks as if the country has managed to rise to the challenge. Record breaking ticket sales also bode well for the organizing officials and FIFA, so fans should expect to be in for quite a show, especially since participating teams will have a bit more time for rest until the event.