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Qatar 2022: Controversies and Challenges Surrounding the First Middle Eastern World Cup

Qatar 2022

Qatar’s World Cup 2022 will hold between 21st November and 18th December, Football in the 21st century has become a massive business, and competitors will fiercely fight for every dollar, euro, and pound.

It is the first time this tournament will come to the Middle East and the first time this tournament has been hosted in the late autumn as far as the Northern Hemisphere is concerned.

The fierce heat in that part of the world means that it would be impossible to stage the Qatar World Cup 2022 during the European summer as is the regular practice, even though all the stadiums for the tournament are fully air-conditioned.

Qatar World cup 2022
Photo by Nika Benedictova

Holding the tournament then means that European league seasons will witness a break for a month during the event, just one reason why the choice of Qatar as host has been controversial, almost from the day the news filtered the air.

In the first place, Qatar is not a footballing hotbed. There are arguably better countries with a claim to stage a World Cup than them. There have been questions about how they came to be awarded it in the first place. With insinuations that corruption was involved, although reports never proved this.

However, what has attracted the most attention is the fact that more than 6,000 migrant workers have died building the stadiums used to stage World Cup 2022. Many more seriously injured, while the 2022 WC soccer news headlines have been full of stories about the poor living and working conditions these laborers have had to endure.

Qatar world cup 2022
Photo by Lucca Belliboni:

And then, there is the country’s human rights record and stance on issues like homosexuality—fans advising LBGTQ fans to stay at home with such behaviors banned in Qatar.

Despite this, fans already know the competition’s group stages draw, Qatar 2022 will feature 32 teams.

In Group D, defending champions France against Denmark and Tunisia must wait for a play-off in the Asian Football Confederation between Australia and the UAE to decide who has the right to play Peru for the one remaining spot in the Group.

Similarly, in Group E, which with Spain, Germany, and Japan, is already shaping up as the “Group of Death,” the fourth team will be determined by a play-off between Costa Rica and New Zealand.

The most complicated issue is who will join England, the USA, and Iran in Group B in the World Cup 2022.
Wales has made the play-off final, and they are due to face Scotland or Ukraine. What makes it tricky is that, because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that tie has been indefinitely suspended, and there is no precise date when the match will be staged.

Qatar world cup 2022

Qatar 2022 will be the last World Cup staged in its present format. The next tournament staged jointly in the USA, Mexico, and Canada will expand to 48 teams, with FIFA looking to boost representation from regions outside the two dominant factions of Europe and South America.

And, by then, FIFA could stage the World Cup every two years, not four. They have been floating the idea, which was first suggested by Saudi Arabia and supported by the African nations.

However, staring in the face of opposition from other countries, they have rowed back on the idea for now. FIFA will continue to press ahead with ideas of expanding their global footprint, but they will find themselves increasingly in conflict with the Europeans in particular.

The idea may come back re-packaged, though at a later date
Qatar in 2022 may prove to be the last World Cup. Despite their many critics, the Middle East kingdom is determined to make it a success.

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