A country renowned all around the world for its richness and hospital, Qatar is all set to host the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022. With over $200 billion USD being spent on the infrastructural projects and eight stadiums being lined up for the whole competition, the 2022 FIFA promises to be grander than ever.
But here's a thing, though the country is all set to welcome over a million fans to enjoy this month-long spectacle, there are question marks around Qatar winning the bid to host the world cup, and its preparations.
From controversies over proper infrastructure to the availability of alcohol in the stadiums, there are several issues that stand in the way of Qatar and need sorting out.
So, in order to analyze the kind of issues lingering in terms of the FIFA World Cup 2022, we have compiled a list of some key talking points that are grabbing headlines as the world cup edges closer.
Key Talking Points Ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022
Here's our take on the issues that are grabbing headlines ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Will Alcohol be Available at the World Cup?
One of the key issues as far as FIFA 2022 is concerned is the availability of alcohol. Being an Islamic country, Qatar has some strict laws against the consumption of alcohol, whether on the streets or at public libraries.
Visitors coming to the country cannot even import alcohol as that can lead to serious consequences. There are only a few licensed bars and restaurants in the country that can serve alcohol but even they only allow people above the age of 21 to enter.
So, the lingering question is, will alcohol be available for the 2022 World Cup? If yes, will it be served to the fans in the stadiums?
Well, the important thing to note here, in this case, is that there was no alcohol available in the stadiums during the recently held FIFA Club World Cup in which English Club Liverpool FC was crowned champions. While it was banned from the stadiums, there were fan zones where alcohol was served to the visitors.
Hence, considering the approach Qatar took during the FIFA Club World Cup, could there be a similar scenario in 2022 as well?
Well, the head of Qatar World Cup 2022 in an interview held last year with Russia Today said that alcohol will be served to the overall 1.5 million fans that are expected to come to the country for the world cup. However, it will not be made available just anywhere.
There will be specific establishments with special licenses that will serve alcohol to the visitors. Likewise, the CEO of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, Nasser Al-Khater recently reminded the concerned fans that even though it is a little restricted in the country as compared to other nations, consumption of alcohol is, in fact, legal in Qatar and fans will be served alcohol during the world cup.
Hence, considering that alcohol is a prominent part of footballing culture all around the world today, it will be important to see how further developments take place in this regard.
Travel to the Country
Travel to Qatar is another issue that is gaining considerable limelight ahead of the FIFA World Cup. A country that is located right in the middle of the world, Qatar is equally accessible from all parts of the world which means that more and more visitors are expected to come in for the world cup.
In fact, the experts believe that about 1.2-1.5 million visitors would be coming to the country for the FIFA World Cup 2022. If this is the case, then the biggest question is, how will Qatar manage the number of visitors that will need to travel to the country?
Are there enough flights available for the visitors to travel? Well, considering the location of the country, Qatar is, in any case, one of the largest transit gateways for overseas travelers in the world today.
But speaking in terms of the world cup, the Hamad International Airport and Qatar Airways are set to join hands to bring in a whopping 1300 flights to the country on a daily basis during the FIFA World Cup. While managing such a huge number of flights is again a question mark, the decision has been taken to allow passengers to book a flight to Qatar without worrying about any last-minute rushes.
The idea here is to have ample flight seats available for the visitors as the number of those coming to see the World Cup may go even higher considering the central location of Qatar.
Where Will the Visitors be Accommodated?
A country with roughly 40,000 hotel rooms, Qatar faces a big challenge to accommodate the visitors who would come for the world cup. There are question marks whether the country has enough hotel rooms to meet the requirements for the 2022 World Cup.
As per multiple reports, Qatar is planning to upgrade the number of hotel rooms from 40,000 to 70000. However, as per an estimate, the number of visitors coming for the world cup would be 1.2-1.5 million. If that is the case, then Qatar would not only have the highest number of visitors for the FIFA World Cup ever, but it would also be falling well short of the hotel rooms.
So, what are the measures that the country is taking to counter this issue?
Well, there are multiple options that Qatar is considering in this case. One of them is the option of cruise hotel liners. As per multiple reports, the Qatar government has already signed deals with a number of cruise liners in order to use them as accommodation options for the visitors. These cruise liners can accommodate a staggering 40,000 people during the FIFA World Cup.
Likewise, Qatar has even approached the organizers of Glastonbury, the famous British music festival, in order to set up luxury tents in the desert to accommodate the visitors there. However, whether the idea of luxury tents in the desert would work out or not remains to be seen.
The Date for the World Cup
Now here's one fact that is certainly catching a lot of attention from teams and club leagues all around the world. The FIFA World Cup 2022 is set to be played in November and December for the first time ever in the Northern Hemisphere. Normally, the competition takes place in June and July in the Southern Hemisphere as this is the time when the region experiences winter conditions.
However, owing to the summer temperatures in Qatar when conditions are pretty unfavorable for football or even sightseeing, the decision to shift the FIFA World Cup from its usual summer slot to winter has been taken by FIFA.
While the decision seems fair enough considering the summers in Qatar, there are major question marks as to how it will affect the other leagues in the world.
Take an example of the Premier League, for instance. During the wintertime, the Premier League schedule is more stiff than usual with mid-week match days for the festive entertainment of fans. However, owing to the FIFA World Cup now, the league will have no choice but to pause at a time when it is supposed to go on with a tight schedule.
This will not only affect the whole season but also be a tough ask for the players as many would return tired to their clubs after a month-long competition only to resume the club football season, eventually leading to higher chances of injuries and results affected by fatigue.
Suggested Read: A Take on the Host Cities of the FIFA World Cup 2022
The LGBT Concerns
Same-sex relationships are a problem in Qatar and the country completely prohibits such relationships. In fact, there are laws that state punishment of up to seven years and even death penalties in some cases for Muslims.
So, the real question is, what will be Qatar's stance as far as foreign homosexual visitors for the FIFA 2022 World Cup are concerned?
An issue that has gained immense publicity right since the time Qatar won the right to host the world cup, there are even question marks as to how such a country even got to host such a major competition that is, in fact, supposed to bring people from all forms of life together.
Well, as per the sports minister of Qatar, Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, the country will come up with creative solutions to handle the concerns of LGBT visitors or players during the competition.
In fact, in a statement given to the Associated Press, Al-Ali said that the impressions stating the country's disregard for culture and ethical values are baseless and that creative solution can be taken in order to ensure that the preferences of people and the essence of the country's culture is met.
With an estimated $200 billion USD being spent on Infrastructural projects, the FIFA World Cup 2022 preparations are underway with pace as Qatar looks to make it grander than ever. However, there are multiple question marks in terms of the adequate infrastructure in the country and the fact that the country may find it tough to meet the alcohol demands of the fans.
Likewise, the lack of accommodation could be a major problem when the world cup kicks off even though other issues like travel seem to have been sorted out. Hence, if you're planning to visit Qatar for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022, do pay special attention to the talking points mentioned above.
Q. Where is the 2022 FIFA World Cup?
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be hosted by Qatar. This would be the first-ever winter world cup in the Northern Hemisphere.
Q. Will the 2022 World Cup be moved?
The 2022 FIFA World Cup has already been moved from its usual summer slot of June and July to November and December owing to the heat conditions in the country during summers.
Q. Is Qatar ready for the 2022 World Cup?
Infrastructural projects worth $200 billion USD are underway in Qatar ahead of the world and the stadiums are near completion. In fact, Qatar has already confirmed the completion of one of its venues, the Education City Stadium.
Q. Can you drink in Qatar?
Although alcohol is legal, there are only a few licensed bars and restaurants that can serve it, and consuming it on the streets and public places is strictly prohibited. Likewise, only people above the age of 21 are allowed entry.
Q. Where will the 2026 World Cup be held?
The 2026 FIFA World Cup would be jointly hosted by the USA, Canada, and Mexico.