The world’s most watched sporting event, the FIFA World Cup, returns this autumn – another chance to find out if what has often been said about football is true: that 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and that the Germans always win.
At the last World Cup, in 2018, the Germans did not win. The French did, and they will be back for this year’s tournament in Qatar, along with their young superstar Kylian Mbappé. So will the incomparable Argentine Leo Messi and Portuguese icon Cristiano Ronaldo in what could be their World Cup swan songs. A new star is sure to rise in the footballing firmament this year – will it be Canadian Alphonso Davies, born to Liberian parents in a Ghanaian refugee camp and raised in Alberta, who is now shining for Bayern Munich? And what will the Americans do after failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament?
These are some of the many reasons fans flock to the 64-match 2022 World Cup tournament in Qatar, where desert heat has pushed the schedule back from its usual summer window of November 21 to December 18.
For those planning to attend, now is the time to secure tickets and accommodation. But there are also compelling reasons not to attend. Below is an introduction to Qatar 2022: where to go, how to get there and, most importantly, should you even go.
Human rights concerns have clouded this year’s World Cup.
Concerns arose shortly after Qatar was named host in 2010. As the tiny Persian Gulf nation rushed to build seven new football stadiums, an airport, a public transport system, hotels, apartments and other infrastructure, allegations quickly followed that many of the country’s 2 million migrant workers were forced to endure deplorably dangerous conditions.
Human rights organization Amnesty International detailed the “rampant” exploitation and abuse, with reports of unpaid migrant workers working excessive hours, often in blistering heat. The country has responded to the scrutiny by introducing labor reforms in recent years, and tournament organizers claim to have improved conditions for workers.
The country’s treatment of LGBTQ people has also drawn criticism. Qatar has said it will welcome LGBTQ fans to the tournament, but the country’s laws make male homosexuality illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison. Qatar does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil partnerships, and demonstrations for gay rights are prohibited. Even while insisting that LGBTQ visitors would be accepted, a senior Qatari security official, Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari, said this month that rainbow flags could be confiscated to “protect” fans.
Concerns over Qatar’s human rights record have prompted some of football’s leading figures to speak out. Lise Klaveness, president of the Norwegian Football Association, chastised FIFA for allowing Qatar to host the tournament in a speech this month, calling it “unacceptable”. England manager Gareth Southgate has called for assurances for the safety of traveling fans. “It would be horrible to think that some of our fans feel they can’t go because they feel threatened or fear for their safety,” he said.
So you want to attend. How will this year’s World Cup tournament work?
This year’s World Cup features 32 teams, 31 of which survived the two-year qualification process. (The 32nd, Qatar, automatically qualified as hosts.) They are placed in eight groups of four teams each, with each team guaranteeing at least three matches.
2022 World Cup Guide
The 32-team tournament kicks off in Qatar on November 21.
The top 16 advance to the knockout stage – followed by the quarter-finals and semi-finals – with the world champion crowned in the grand final at the 80,000-seat Lusail International Stadium in Lusail, a city just north of Doha, the country’s capital, on December 21. 18.
Qatar is by far the smallest country to have hosted the tournament, so in some ways this should be the easiest World Cup to attend. All eight stadiums are within a 35 mile radius of Doha, so instead of having to hop on planes and trains to follow their team for hundreds or even thousands of miles, Qatar 2022 fans will have virtually no to travel. In fact, five of the eight stadiums are accessible via the Doha Metro (shuttle buses will take fans to outlying stadiums).
Even though the tournament will be played in November and December, it will still be hot, with an average temperature of 85 degrees at the start of the tournament and 75 at the end. But matches will kick off in the late afternoon and evening, and all stadiums (only one has a retractable roof) will be air-conditioned, with solar-powered ventilation and cooling systems designed to keep spectators comfortable.
How do you get tickets?
You can participate in the ticket lottery until April 28 at 5 a.m. EDT. After that, FIFA will conduct a draw, with successful applicants notified from May 31. You can request tickets for individual matches or for all matches of a particular team. cheek. There is also a way to reserve provisional tickets if your team advances to the knockout stage.
Prices range from $70 to $220 for individual tickets for group matches and increase until the knockout stage. Tickets for the championship final will cost between $600 and $1,600.
How about going to Qatar?
If you manage to get tickets, the next thing to do is to get a Hayya card – a mandatory all-purpose ID card for the World Cup visitor. The Hayya Card (Hayya means ‘let’s go’) not only serves as an entry visa to Qatar, but must be presented — along with your ticket — to enter the stadium on matchdays.
Several airlines fly from New York to Doha, including American, Finnair, Turkish and Royal Jordanian. Qatar Airways offers more than 100 weekly flights from 12 cities in the United States.
Qatar Airways also offers all-inclusive packages that include match tickets, flights and accommodation. A package including tickets to all US games (three group games plus a round of 16 game, if the US advances) is advertised starting at $6,950 per person. Other packages range from $4,050 to $7,300, for the one that includes tickets to the championship final.
Regarding the country’s coronavirus rules, Qatar currently requires adult visitors to present proof of vaccination or a certificate of recovery to avoid quarantine, as well as negative results of a test taken within 48 hours of departure. Current national regulations require the wearing of masks on public transport and in stadiums, shops and hotels. Proof of vaccination is required to enter many buildings, and travelers must have Ehteraz, a Covid-19 notification app, on their phone.
What about accommodation? Can Qatar handle the influx?
Beds can be hard to come by, with just 130,000 rooms for the 1.5 million visitors expected during the tournament. Apartment complexes to house ventilators are still being built, many near highways and in dusty industrial areas.
The Qatar 2022 website has an accommodation portal which is the best place to start your accommodation search. The website offers listings of hotels, apartments and villas or aboard two large cruise ships docked in Doha for the duration of the tournament. It’s also possible to stay in ‘fan villages’, which the site describes as ‘a variety of laid-back campsites and chalet-style accommodations for avid fans’, along with a photo of a tent in the middle of vast sand dunes. “More to come,” the caption reads.
A recent search of the site for hotel rooms showed nothing available, a disappointment for those wanting a room at the Four Seasons Doha. But even the modest three-star listings showed no vacancies.
However, a few apartments and villas were available. At the bottom of the scale was an apartment in Al-Wakrah, a suburb of Doha, for $84 a night. At the high end, a villa in Doha cost $920 a night.
Staterooms aboard MSC Poesia, docked in Doha Port, start at $179 on the website; aboard MSC World Europa they are $347.
Airbnb had a few reservations in Qatar for the World Cup, usually consisting of tents at $100 a night or apartments from $500 a night. Some fans may have to resort to staying in the UAE in Abu Dhabi, 330 miles from Doha, or Dubai, 390 miles, and taking a car, bus or plane to get to the game.
Any other tips for staying in Qatar?
Fans attending the World Cup should keep in mind that while the country allows for the upcoming influx of tourists, Qatar is a conservative Muslim country and visitors should be aware of its laws and customs.
For example, it is forbidden to drink in public. During the World Cup, alcohol will be available in designated areas, such as hotels and special “fan zones”, but public intoxication can result in a six-month prison sentence.
“Visitors (both male and female) are expected to show respect for the local culture by avoiding excessively revealing their clothing in public,” advises the official Visit Qatar website. “It’s generally recommended that men and women make sure their shoulders and knees are covered.”
Public displays of affection between men and women are “frowned upon”, according to Visit Qatar.
Even if you’re a super football fan with the funds to travel, deciding whether or not to go to this year’s World Cup could be difficult. Don’t forget that you can always wait until 2026, when the World Cup will take place in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
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