Doha, Qatar: So far, there have been 21 men’s World Cup editions since its inauguration in 1930, but Qatar 2022 is all set to be a different tournament.
This will be the first time the Qatari men’s national team will partake in the World Cup finals, though having failed to qualify in the past.
FIFA, the sport’s supervising body, allows a host nation to compete in a World Cup without undergoing the qualifying rounds. This means the Gulf state can now test itself against the top players in world soccer.
Qatar is fairly new to the sport, having played its first official match in 1970. Yet, the country has fallen in love with the beautiful game, and even the national team has improved consistently.
In 2004, The Aspire Academy was established to discover and expand all of Qatar’s most talented sportspeople.
In recent years, that has taken the yield of rewards for its soccer team. Qatar won the Asia Cup in 2019, restricting one of the most remarkable runs in the tournament’s history, acknowledging only one goal throughout the tournament.
70% of the team that won the trophy came through the Academy, and that figure grew heading into the World Cup.
Coached by Spaniard Felix Sanchez, Qatar will be looking forward to surprising people.
The World Cup has always been held in either May, June, or July, but Qatar 2022 will break away from the ritual.
Temperatures in Qatar can reach over 40 degrees in those months, so the tournament was shifted to cooler times.
The change in the tournament dates did play a mayhem with some of the biggest domestic leagues in the world.
All of Europe’s top leagues had to work a winter break into their plans, ultimately leading to jammed fixture lists before and after the tournament.
One of FIFA’s criteria for granting hosting rights to Qatar was to take the tournament to a brand-new part of the world.
None of the 21 previous World Cups have been held in an Islamic country, and this will develop a love for the game.
Though it raises a few problems that organizers have to set to work on, for many fans, alcohol has been and will be a big part of the experience of such tournaments.
In Qatar, though it’s illegal to be drunk in public, alcohol will only be served in assigned fan parks in Doha. There will be separate areas for fans to sober up before and after matches.
Qatar is the smallest country, so dealing with the rush of one million visitors was a big question. And thus, all eight stadiums are in Doha, the capital city, and all are within an hour’s drive.
There are plans to ensure that all of the travel infrastructure- including buses, metros, and car rentals- can cope with the increased demand. Even the small distances between the venues will benefit the fans to see two games in one day.
‘Carbon neutral’ tournament
FIFA has pledged to make Qatar 2022 the first carbon-neutral World Cup by adopting environment-friendly measures.
Even Qatar pledged to compensate for carbon emissions by subsidizing green projects and buying carbon credits.
Qatar 2022 will also see female referees taking part in the Men’s World Cup for the first time.
Yamashita Yoshimi, Salima Mukansanga, and Stephanie Frappart are among the 36 officials selected. Neuza Back, Karen Diaz, and American Kathryn Nesbitt are selected as assistants to the Gulf Nation.