The most watched sporting event on earth, the FIFA World Cup, returns in the 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 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 with their young superstar Kylian Mbappé. The same goes for Argentina’s incomparable Leo Messi and Portugal’s icon Cristiano Ronaldo in what could be their World Cup swan songs. A new star will surely rise into the football sky this year – will it be Canada’s Alphonso Davies, born of Liberian parents in a Ghanaian refugee camp and raised in Alberta, who is now shining for Bayern Munich? And how will the Americans cope after not qualifying for the 2018 tournament?
These are some of the many reasons why fans go to the 64 matches of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where the heat of the desert has pushed the schedule back from its usual summer time window to November 21 to December 18.
For those planning to attend, it’s time to get tickets and a place to stay now. But there are also some compelling reasons not to participate. Below is a primer on Qatar 2022: where are you going, how are you going, and, most importantly, should you go at all.
Human rights concerns have plummeted this year’s World Cup.
Concerns arose shortly after Qatar was appointed host in 2010. As the small Persian Gulf nation rushed to build seven new football stadiums, an airport, transit system, hotels, apartments and other infrastructure, claims quickly followed that many of the country’s 2 million migrant workers were forced to endure regrettably dangerous conditions.
The human rights organization Amnesty International described in detail “extensive” exploitation and abuse, with reports of unpaid migrant workers and working long hours, often in oppressive heat. The country responded to the scrutiny by introducing labor market reforms in recent years, and tournament organizers say they have improved conditions for workers.
The country’s treatment of LGBTQ people has also sparked criticism. Qatar has said it will welcome LGBTQ fans to the tournament, but the country’s laws make male homosexuality illegal and can be punished with up to three years in prison. Qatar does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil partnerships, and demonstrations for gay rights are banned. Even while insisting that LGBTQ guests 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 spurred some of football’s leading figures to speak out. Lise Klaveness, president of the Norwegian Football Association, scolded FIFA for allowing Qatar to host the tournament in a speech this month, calling it “unacceptable.” Gareth Southgate, the manager of England, called for guarantees for the safety of traveling fans. “It would be awful to think that some of our fans feel they can not walk because they feel threatened or they are worried about their safety,” he said.
A spokesman for the Qatari organizers said in an email that Qatar has hosted other sporting events since it was awarded the rights to the World Cup without incident. “Everyone will be welcome to Qatar in 2022,” he wrote. “FIFA and Qatar are committed to providing a non-discriminatory tournament that is open to all.”
A guide to the WC 2022
The 32-team tournament starts in Qatar on November 21.
So you want to participate. How will this year’s World Cup tournament work?
This year’s World Cup includes 32 teams, 31 of which have 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 guaranteed at least three matches.
The top 16 advance to the knockout stages – followed by the quarter-finals and semi-finals – with the world champion crowned at the grand final at Lusail International Stadium with 80,000 seats in Lusail, a city just north of Doha, the country’s capital, in December. 18.
Qatar is by far the smallest country ever to host 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 jump on planes and trains to follow their team over hundreds or even thousands of miles, fans of Qatar 2022 will hardly have to travel at all. In fact, five of the eight stadiums are accessible via the Doha Metro (shuttle buses will take fans to the remote stadiums).
Even though the tournament is 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 degrees at the end. But the matches start in the late afternoon and evening, and all stadiums (only one has a retractable roof) will have air conditioning, using 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 05.00, EDT. Thereafter, FIFA will conduct a random selection draw, where successful candidates will be notified from 31 May. You can apply for tickets for individual matches, or all matches will a specific team Games. There is also a way to reserve preliminary tickets if your team advances to the knockout phase.
Prices range from $ 70 to $ 220 for individual group match tickets and escalate through the knockout phase. Tickets to the championship final will cost from $ 600 to $ 1,600.
How about traveling to Qatar?
If you succeed in getting tickets, the next thing to do is to get a Hayya card – a mandatory identification card for all purposes for the World Cup guest. The Hayya card (Hayya means “let’s go”) not only serves as an entry visa to Qatar, but it must be presented – in addition to your ticket – to enter the stadium on match days.
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 come with match tickets, flights and accommodation. A package of tickets for all matches in the United States (three group games plus a 16-round if the United States advances) is announced from $ 6,950 per game. person. Other packages range from $ 4,050 to $ 7,300, for those who include tickets to the championship final.
As for the country’s coronavirus rules, Qatar currently requires adult visitors to show either proof of vaccination or a health certificate to avoid quarantine, as well as negative results from a test taken within 48 hours of departure. Current national rules require masking 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 phones.
What about accommodation – can Qatar cope with the influx?
Beds can be hard to come by, with only 130,000 rooms for the up to 1.5 million visitors expected during the tournament. Apartment complexes intended to house fans are still being built, many near highways and in dusty industrial areas.
The Qatar 2022 website has an accommodation portal that is the best place to start your search for accommodation. The website has listings of hotels, apartments and villas or aboard two large cruise ships docked in Doha during the tournament. There is also the option of staying in “fan villages”, which the site describes as “a series of casual camping and cabin styles for the avid fan,” accompanied by a photo of a tent in the middle of large dunes. “More information coming soon,” the caption says.
A recent search on the hotel rooms website showed nothing available, a disappointment for those who would like a room at Four Seasons Doha. But even the low three-star ads showed no vacancies.
However, some apartments and villas were vacant. At the low end was an apartment in Al-Wakrah, a suburb of Doha, at $ 84 per person. night. In the high end, a villa in Doha came to $ 920 per. night.
Cabins aboard MSC Poesia, moored in Doha Harbor, start at $ 179 on the website; aboard MSC World Europe they cost $ 347.
Airbnb had some reservations in Qatar for the World Cup, and they tended to consist of tents for $ 100 per person. night or apartments starting at $ 500 per night night. Some fans may have to resort to staying in the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi, 530 miles from Doha, or Dubai, 690 miles away, and taking a car, bus or plane to the match.
Other tips for living in Qatar?
Fans attending the World Cup should be aware that while the country takes some account of the coming influx of tourists, Qatar is a conservative Muslim country and visitors should be aware of its laws and customs.
For example, it is illegal 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 could result in a six-month prison sentence.
“Visitors (men as well as women) are expected to show respect for local culture by avoiding overly revealing clothing in public,” advises the official Visit Qatar website. “It is generally recommended for men and women to ensure that 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 fan of football with the means to travel, it can be fraught with deciding whether you want to go to this year’s World Cup. Remember, you can always wait until 2026, when the World Cup will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
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