The Middle East stages the World Cup for the first time in 2022 with Qatar the hosts.
France lifted the World Cup for a second time after beating over Croatia in Moscow on Sunday, and will look to defend their crown when Qatar hosts the showpeice tournament in four years time.
Here, we take a look at everything you need to know about the 2022 World Cup.
When is it?
For the first time in the tournament’s history, the 2022 World Cup will not take place in the summer. It will be played over 28 days from November 21 to December 18, with the final held on Qatar’s National Day. The controversial decision to switch the World Cup to cooler months later in the year, because of the soaring summer temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celcius on the Persian Gulf peninsula, means the entire football calendar has to be rearranged, disrupting many domestic club seasons.
Which cities will host matches?
Governing body FIFA has yet to confirm the final number of stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, but Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy have so far announced eight. Construction continues on six of the venues, while the Khalifa International Stadium is one of those being refurbished. Host venues, all of which will be air-conditioned, have been confirmed for the Ras Abu Aboud and Al Thumama areas of Doha. As well as controversy surrounding Qatar’s successful bid for the 2022 World Cup, a report from Amnesty International in 2016 said migrant workers on the construction sites were being exploited, some “subjected to forced labour”. The human rights organisation maintained last year many “continue to suffer abuse and exploitation”, despite claims the issues were being addressed.
What can fans expect?
After host venues across the length and breadth of Russia, with many hours of travelling, at least fans who do make it out to Qatar will not have to go very far once they get there. The small Middle East kingdom stretches north some 99 miles out into the Persian Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula. The website for the 2022 Supreme Committee says one hour is the “maximum” time supporters will have to spend travelling between venues, so “allowing fans, media, officials and delegates to watch more than one match in a single day while staying in the same accommodation throughout the tournament”.
Will you be able to buy a pint?
The strict laws on alcohol consumption will be relaxed for the duration of the tournament, but it will not be available everywhere – with special “designated areas” planned for visiting fans to enjoy a drink or two. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. However, Hassan Al Thawadi, head of the World Cup 2022 organising committee, said in an interview with Russia Today: “Simply put, everybody’s welcome, everybody will be having a good time.”
When does qualifying start?
The 2022 World Cup could yet be expanded to a 48-team event, and a feasibility study is under way, although that could mean FIFA may have to look at a co-host to accommodate the additional matches. Under current plans, Europe are set to have 13 qualifying slots, the largest of any region – with holders France having to secure the chance to defend their title. Hosts Qatar will be given an automatic place, so competing in the World Cup finals for the first time. The draw for World Cup 2022 qualifying is scheduled to take place in July 2019.