The World Cup 2022: Everything You Need To Know
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is coming to the Middle East for the first time. With that comes many questions, especially considering this will be the first time a host country has had a tournament with so much scrutiny in recent memory. On top of that, it’s also been announced that the event will be shortened by a month. There are still plenty of details to be revealed about the upcoming World Cup, but here’s everything we know so far.
What Is Happening?
With everything that’s happened in the lead-up to the 2022 World Cup, it’s important to remember that there’s a football tournament happening, too. The 2022 World Cup will go from 21 November to 18 December, three weeks shorter than usual. It will be the first time a host nation has ever been granted permission to shorten the event, so it’s unclear how playing a shorter tournament will affect the build-up and legacy of the event. The tournament will be moved to winter as the Qatari desert doesn’t get enough rainfall to host a World Cup in summer, and the temperatures can often reach 40 degrees Celsius. This will be the first winter World Cup since 1986 when Mexico hosted the event. The decision has been met with criticism, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Gareth Southgate all questioning the move. There are also concerns that the final will clash with the Super Bowl, which is usually held on 1 February every year. However, this was all avoided when FIFA decided to hold the 2022 World Cup in November and December, instead of May and June, as was initially scheduled. The 2022 World Cup will be the first time FIFA has hosted the tournament in the Middle East, as well as being the first time the event has been held in Qatar.
Who Will Be There?
The 2022 World Cup will be contested by 48 teams — 16 more than is currently the case. The expansion will be a one-off for the Qatar tournament, with the number of teams reverting to 32 for 2026. The decision to expand the tournament was taken on the back of a consultation process that took into account several different factors, including the potential development of the game across the globe. FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in October that the expanded format would “make the tournament even more inclusive”. This means that there will be 16 more teams in the tournament, with the hosts, Qatar, being seeded in Pot One. Pot Two will comprise one team from each of the six continental confederations — Africa, Asia, North and South America, Oceania, and Europe. The draw will take place in July 2021.
Why Is The World Cup Shorter?
The tournament is being shortened due to the extreme temperatures in the Qatari desert in summer, which can reach as high as 50° Celsius during the day. The decision to host the tournament in November and December was made as a result of this, with a minor reduction also being made to fit the tournament into 32 weeks. While the tournament is being shortened, the overall length of the bid process was not reduced. FIFA’s Executive Committee approved the switch from May-June to November-December in the same meeting where Qatar was confirmed as a host, meaning there was no re-tendering process for the tournament despite the change in a month. 12 stadiums are being built for the tournament, eight of which will be ready by 2022. Qatar has pledged to deliver all 12 stadiums, plus the accompanying infrastructure, by the end of 2020 — two years ahead of the tournament.
Will It Be Hot?
Yes, very. Qatar is typically one of the warmest countries in the world, with average temperatures in the desert during the summer months reaching 43°C. Temperatures will drop during the World Cup, but they’re still expected to be fairly high during the day — somewhere between 24°C and 29°C. This means the event will take place during the winter in the Northern Hemisphere, in the middle of what is typically the coldest part of the year in many places. Temperatures in Qatar can range widely through the year, but summer is the hottest time of the year, with the mercury rising above 40°C every day during July and August. The best time to visit the country is in autumn and spring when temperatures are mild and pleasant.
Who’s Playing Where?
The group draws for the 2022 World Cup will be made in April 2023, and will be the first draw since FIFA announced the change to a 48-team tournament. It’s unclear what format will be used for the draw, with some reports suggesting it may be a closed-door event, much like the group draw for the 2026 World Cup in New York last year. This is what we know about the host cities so far — Al-Khobar: Not yet built Al-Riqqah: Not yet built Doha: Khalifa International Stadium (40,000) Al-Wakrah: Not yet built Al-Rayyan: Not yet built Al-Shamal: Not yet built Al-Garab: Not yet built
Qatar’s Infrastructure Plans
The majority of the stadiums will be built in the city of Doha, with the Government committing to spend $19 billion on stadiums and $7 billion on transport infrastructure. A total of $150 billion of investment will be injected into the country’s economy by hosting the tournament, with nearly half of that coming from the Government. It’s unclear how the Government will foot the bill, with the country already experiencing economic challenges as a result of the ongoing Gulf dispute. The Financial Times reported that the Government is planning to issue $19 billion in bonds to fund the stadiums — the largest ever bond issue by a government. The money will be used to fund the construction of a new airport, a metro line, and dozens of other infrastructure projects. Some of the stadiums will be built by contractors who will be responsible for the entire project, while others will only be responsible for the stadium itself.
When Will We Know More?
Although the 2022 World Cup is still five years away, there’s plenty to look forward to between now and then. The host cities for the tournament will be announced before the end of the year, with FIFA expected to announce in November. A draft of the tournament’s format is expected to be released in the next couple of years, with the final version expected to be published before the year 2020. The next World Cup is only two years away, and much of the information above is still subject to change. FIFA will also have new leadership come June, with Gianni Infantino and Prince Ali Al Hussein expected to go head-to-head in the election.
The next five years will be a tumultuous ride for the world of football. There will be a whole host of decisions to be made surrounding the 2022 World Cup — from where the host cities will be located and how many will be built to the format of the tournament and how it will affect the game at large. The event will be very different from the one we’re used to, and many aspects are yet to be ironed out. But with so many details yet to be confirmed, now is the perfect time to start following the news surrounding the 2022 World Cup.