Qatar is hosting the 2022 World Cup, and for the first time ever it will be kicking off in November.
With eight venues centered in a 21-mile radius of Doha, the logistics and preparations for the competition have been out of this world – and Qatar has risen to the challenge magnificently.
While hotel rooms and accommodation options are sparse for travelling fans, armchair experts have already begun placing bets on the team that they think will be victorious in the World Cup Final on December 18th and making general World Cup predictions.
An Entire New City
Following the news in 2010 that Qatar would be hosting the World Cup, the city of Lusail began construction.
An entire new city, featuring a mix of retail and residential structures, Lusail cost more than $45 billion to construct. Visitors will find the city covers 38 square kilometers, with 22 new hotels (which are much-needed to host the tourists and visitors who are coming to watch their teams take part in the competition).
Tourists can take advantage of the beaches, a golf course, and the Desert Falls Water and Adventure Park, as well as activities like laser tag and go karting. Despite the newness of the city, Lusail will feel like traditional Qatari culture – supported by intelligent street lighting and watering, and the electricity on a smart grid, as the city is the largest single sustainable development in the world.
Visitors who stay in Lusail will be close to all the action, with the architecturally impressive Lusail Stadium hosting the final as well as many of the bigger matches.
In addition to Lusail Stadium, a further seven venues will be used, and each venue will be connected by a purpose-built tram and metro system, making it possible for fans to see more than one match a day.
More Visitors than Space
Qatar is a relatively tiny country perched on the border of Saudi Arabia – but the government has come up with some unique ways to ensure that there is enough space for travelling fans.
Alongside the new city, there will be cruise liners moored along the coast, providing floating hotel rooms for visitors. While the main hotels in the country (and especially in Doha) are few and far between (not to mention eye-wateringly expensive), there are some other options that might be more suitable.
In Al Khor, a ‘Tent City’ has been constructed, stylistically based on the tradition Qatari tents. As part of the fan village experience, these tents have all the amenities you would expect from a hotel room, including ensuite bathrooms, TVs, and Wi-Fi.
Traditionally, the World Cup takes place during the summer months, using the natural break in between football league seasons – but summertime in Qatar sees temperatures of over 100°F and the hazard to health for both the players and supporters would not be easy to mitigate.
Moving the competition to the winter months doesn’t mean that the fans will be cold, however, and as part of the construction of the stadiums and surrounding areas, consideration has been made about keeping everyone as cool and comfortable as possible.
The solar-powered stadiums will boast detailed cooling systems and even outdoor air conditioning, with some featuring retractable roof structures to keep the sun out.
In Qatar, the culture is against consuming alcohol, so it has long been understood that you cannot drink when you visit. Islam as a religion prohibits it, and Qatar is a widely Islamic country,
However, tourists are still able to have a drink at their hotel, and it seems that the same will apply for the World Cup – supporters will not be allowed to drink alcohol in the streets, but some fan areas in the stadium will be able to sell beer and other drinks.
It is worth remembering that it is an offence in Qatar to be drunk in public, with fines and even prison sentences for those who are caught – so travelers should avoid over consumption.
Qatar is a strict Islamic country, which means that visitors need to be prepared to abide by cultural laws and norms.
Gambling is illegal in Qatar, and you will not find bookies ready to take bets on the winner of the competition in the high street like you would in the UK or elsewhere. Instead, you can access online gambling sites to choose your winner and play other games too.
Same sex relationships are outlawed in Islam, which has led to some controversy as to whether fans will be punished for waving rainbow flags, but the organisers have stated that it should not be a problem, and that any overt contact whether heterosexual or not is frowned upon.
Billions of Dollars
Qatar has reportedly spent more than $220 billion on preparations for the World Cup. Arguably the most controversial World Cup in history, the Qatar World Cup 2022 is going to be a spectacle, from the standard of football right through to the architecture and infrastructure – and it will put a spotlight on the Qatari culture for the whole world to see.