To say the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has not been met with universal approval is quite an understatement. From the heat of Qatar’s rather questionable human rights record to the switch from the usual summer tournament to one in winter, Qatar 2022 World Cup will definitely go down in history as the weirdest and strangest global sports fiesta.
Even the man on whose watch Qatar got the slot, and one time President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, is regretting the role he played in bringing it about
When Qatar was announced as the winning bid to host the 2022 World Cup back in 2010, it was on the understanding that the tournament will be staged in June and July, as was the case with previous tournaments. But concerns over the searing summer temperatures in the Middle East, which average 41.2 degrees Celsius (106.2 Fahrenheit) in June, prompted FIFA to move the World Cup to November/December.
That decision immediately created a major problem for the club game, particularly in Europe, with the season traditionally lasting from August to May. The final two months of the year are a busy time with plenty of domestic games and group fixtures in the Champions League and Europa League.
With Qatar 2022 running from November 20 to December 18, 2022, the club competitions faces a shutdown for at least six weeks — a week before the tournament for preparation and a week after for players to recover — so the 2022-23 season must somehow be reconfigured to enable the club game and the World Cup to be concluded as smoothly as possible.
The ripple effect of dropping a World Cup in the middle of club season has affected both the start and finish date of the 2022-23 season and potentially the start of the 2023-24 campaign, something that the league bodies and clubs have no option but to accept.
International coaches often have the benefit of a lengthy build-up to a major tournament, with training camps and friendly games scheduled for preparation, but that is not happening in the build up to Qatar 2022 World Cup as clubs have held onto their players until the last possible departure date for Qatar after using them this weekend just a week before the World Cup begins. Similarly, players could find themselves back in club action just days after the World Cup ends, which could be challenging for players whose countries get to the semifinals and final.
It’s not the first time a World Cup has been held outside of its traditional June-July slot. In 2002, the tournament was moved to May to avoid the rainy season in South Korea and Japan, but the 2022 finals will be more than months later than usual.
The reason for this is apparent: it’s just too hot. During the summer months, temperatures in Qatar can top 50 degrees centigrade, which would make football pretty uncomfortable for players and fans alike.
One significant weird thing about the timing is that people and nations will have to forgo a lot of events and funfares for the Qatar world cup. For instance, a World Cup is supposed to be an event that unites the world. So, what happens when it lands in a country where your sexuality could land you in jail? It’s complicated, but the truth is that some of the players, coaches, and fans attending this year’s World Cup will be risking their safety just by being themselves while they’re there.
Due to the strict gambling laws in Qatar, the country that will host the 2022 World Cup is not allowed to perform any form of gambling. This makes it difficult for fans who want to participate in sports betting or other gambling activities during the games. In Qatar, betting is illegal and highly frowned upon by socIety. The penalties for those caught participating in gambling activities can include imprisonment or even deportation.
Also, when we think of a World Cup, people get drunk, dance in the streets, and are generally rowdy. But Qatar is an absolute monarchy, and they take their religious beliefs seriously. So, when they were planning the 2022 World Cup, they made it illegal to drink alcohol anywhere near stadiums.
As for the 2022 World Cup, it will indeed be strange. But we must remember that not all that is sinister—sometimes even good. We’ll have to wait and see how things play out.
But it is safe to say that the world cup in Qatar will bring plenty of surprises. Let’s hope that the supporters’ travel experiences don’t leave us disappointed and disillusioned.