This winter, Christmas is going to arrive early for football aficionados. FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is knocking just around the corner. The hosts Qatar, will contest Ecuador in the opening match of the tournament on 20th November. The stage is set for the biggest sporting event in the world, as millions of fans will be glued to their television screens for a month straight.
Controversies, protests, and contentions, the hype built around the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 are mainly due to the tension surrounding it. Having said that, the 2022 World Cup is also going to get emotional for the fans as two of the greatest footballers in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, might be featuring in their last one. There is a lot to discuss about the upcoming sporting jamboree. Let’s have a look.
11 interesting facts about the 2022 FIFA World Cup
- First World Cup to take place in the Middle East
Amidst all the controversies, Qatar has done something unimaginable. Qatar will become the first Middle-Eastern country to host the FIFA World Cup. Qatar will be only the second Asian country to organize this grand footballing event. Against all the odds, Qatar is ready to set an example for the world.
- Highest visitors count to date
The streets of Qatar are expected to be packed throughout the FIFA World Cup. It is reported that over 1 million tourists and fans from around the world are expected to visit Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Over 1,300+ flights are expected to land in Qatar every day over two months. Qatar is already famous for being a tourist spot, and it’s just going to get bigger.
- The most expensive World Cup to date
Qatar has reportedly spent over £138 billion (17.60 Lakh Crore INR) to build the infrastructure to conduct the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The infrastructure includes stadiums, hotels, highways, and other facilities. Russia hosted the second costliest World Cup after Qatar, and they spent only £14.2 billion, followed by Brazil (£11.6 billion).
Qatar’s insane World Cup cost is due to the money spent on building seven brand-new stadiums. To get a wider perspective, South Africa invested a total of $3.5 billion while hosting the World Cup in 2010.
- The lowest number of stadiums
FIFA World Cup 2022 will only be played in 8 stadiums. This is the lowest number of stadiums recorded in the history of the World Cup. However, 7 of the 8 stadiums are newly built just to hold the Qatar World Cup. 8 or more matches will be played in each of the eight stadiums.
Lusail Stadium is the largest stadium among the eight, which will be hosting over 80,000 fans. Al Bayt Stadium will be hosting over 60,000 fans, while the rest of the stadiums have the capacity of holding 40,000 people or so.
The eight stadiums are:
- Lusail Stadium | Capacity: 80,000 seats
- Al Bayt Stadium | Capacity: 60,000 seats
- Al Janoub Stadium | Capacity: 40,000 seats
- Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium | Capacity: 40,000 seats
- Khalifa International Stadium | Capacity: 40,000 seats
- Education City Stadium | Capacity: 40,000 seats
- Stadium 974 | Capacity: 40,000 seats
- Al Thumama Stadium | Capacity: 40,000 seats
- Smallest Country to host the FIFA World Cup
Qatar will become the smallest country to host the FIFA World Cup by land and also by population of the country. Qatar measures only 11,571 km². Qatar is smaller than most of the states in the USA. The population of Qatar was around 29.3 lakhs in 2021. All eight stadiums are interconnected via the Doha Metro line.
Uruguay is the next smallest country after Qatar to ever host a FIFA World Cup. Uruguay has a population of around 34.9 lakhs (2021) and is spread across 176,215 km². Uruguay hosted and clinched the first-ever FIFA World Cup in 1930. Qatar this time? No? Ok!.
- First ever FIFA World Cup to be played in the Winter
FIFA World Cups are mostly played during the summer between June and July. However, Qatar World Cup will be taken place during the winter. The reason is pretty obvious, Qatar’s scathing summer. The temperature in Qatar reaches up to 50℃. The FIFA authorities showed some mercy over the players and shifted the entire tournament to winter. The winter temperature in Qatar loiters between 4℃ to 29℃.
- Alcohol-friendly fan zones
Access to alcohol is certainly not easy in Qatar, as it is a Muslim-dominated country. However, the hosts have considered the feelings of their beerologist travelling fans, especially the English, and have decided to put up multiple alcohol-friendly “fan zones”.
Alcohol won’t be available in any of the stadiums. However, fans can consume their drink in the said spots. The prices of the alcohol sold in the “fan zone” will be comparatively lesser than the usual price of alcohol in Qatar.
- Air-conditioned Stadiums
Qatar will keep no stone unturned to make the 2022 FIFA World Cup a memorable one. Despite the tournament being set in the winter, Qatar has made its stadiums fully air-conditioned. The sub-tropical climate can make a switch anytime, and Qatar has no
intentions of taking any risk. The cooling of a single stadium will require the strength of around 44,000 air conditioners per game.
Magnificent!. Certain environmentalists will say otherwise, though!
- Costliest Match Tickets in World Cup history
Watching a FIFA World Cup match in Qatar is not going to come cheap. Qatar has a simple way of recovering its gargantuan investment: how? by increasing the price of match tickets. The best tickets for the 2022 World Cup finals are going to cost around £1,179 (1,09,368 INR). The same ticket was priced at around £807 (74,797 INR) in the finals of the 2018 Russia World Cup.
The cheapest tickets for the 2022 World Cup finals will be around £513.34 (47,592 INR). The tickets for the group matches will cost around £58.64 (5,436 INR) for the travelling fans. However, the citizens of Qatar can buy the group stage tickets for £8 (741 INR). The opening match of the Qatar World Cup between Qatar and Ecuador will cost around £302 (27,985 INR).
- The Protest
Countries around the world are protesting against Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup. There are many claims that Qatar has broken most of the human rights norms in the process of getting ready for the 2022 World Cup. A recent report claimed that more than 6,500 migrant workers from countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal had died in Qatar since 2010, the year when Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Many recognized players have also protested against Qatar on and off the field.
- The Last Dance
The end for which not a single fan of the sport can ever be prepared. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi: the pioneers of modern-day football, might be featuring in their last-ever football World Cup. While the 35-year-old Argentine has already made it public, Ronaldo is yet to comment on his future.
FIFA World Cup remains the only thing neither of these two demi-gods has won in their prosperous careers. It’s their last dance, their last shot to conquer the dream. Will they? Can they? Destiny awaits.