World Cup: Qatar 2022 fan guide: stadiums, travel, accommodation


atar has had an unusually long time to come to terms with the reality of being World Cup hosts.

By the time next winter’s tournament final takes place on December 18, it will be 12 years since the Gulf nation won the 2022 edition of football’s flagship event, with the selection process ending the same after. – instantly infamous midday in Zurich where Russia won the 2018 World Cup, in 2010.

But concerns over Fifa’s decision to host the tournament in a country of small size, scorching heat, strict Sharia law and a lack of notable footballing legacy for the fan experience will remain unaffected.

Some fears will prove to be unfounded. Drinking, for example, may be banned in public, but alcohol is regularly sold in licensed hotels and bars, and organizers have long said it would be allowed in specially designated areas such as “wet” fan parks. During the tournament, where the prizes will likely be cheaper too.

When Qatar first showed up for the tournament, there was talk of air-conditioned stadiums needed to offset the dangers of a 40-degree heat, but moving to a November / December slot effectively eliminated that concern ( and part of the domestic calendar) without the need for such innovation.

Average temperatures this time of year are between 20 and 20 degrees, cooler than at some recent summer World Cups and well below the 30 degrees in which England started their Euro 2020 campaign. against Croatia at Wembley this summer.

And the geographical focus of the tournament is also positive, which will take place over just eight stadiums – the lowest number since the 1978 16-team World Cup in Argentina – the furthest of which are only 75 km apart.

As a result of tournaments spanning the vast nations of Brazil and Russia, and ahead of one that crosses three in the United States, Canada and Mexico, this will bring logistical relief to traveling supporters who could, if they so choose. , attend several matches in one day.

That this USP is being pushed hard in tournament marketing is not surprising, given concerns over the prospect of low turnout. The scale of the World Cup giant and the tradition of traveling fans mean things will likely not be as gloomy as they were at the 2019 World Athletics Championships, when the crowds for some sessions in Doha have barely exceeded that of this summer behind closed doors Tokyo Olympics.

But there is only a small base of native football fans to lean on – it is telling that almost all stadiums will see their capacities reduced after the tournament – and there are already reports of the possibility that “paid fans” are brought in by bus to whip up atmospheres.

Here again, so much the better, the world of football should not befall Qatar in usual numbers, given the relative shortage of accommodation.

Rooms will be hard to find – organizers, who say they are reluctant to end up with a slew of unused ‘white elephant’ properties, have pledged up to 130,000 apartments and hotels, but hope more than a million people will visit during the tournament.

Fan camping villages in the desert are expected to play a role in bridging the gap, but there is work to be done to prepare necessary infrastructure such as sewage systems, while, according to Reuters, one of the two rented cruise ships will be used. as a floating hotel is still under construction in France.

A “Host a Fan” initiative is being tested at the Arab Cup later this month, but there are concerns about its adoption among a conservative local population.

This tournament will be the closest to Qatar for a dress rehearsal – but it’s unlikely to tell us much if the country is ready for the real show to hit town in a year from now.


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