Finally, this Sunday, November 21, The countdown to the Qatar World Cup 2022 begins. More than a decade has passed since that December 2, 2010, when FIFA confirmed the venues for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. In that time, the small Middle Eastern country began his career towards the organization of the greatest cultural event on the planet, which today enters the final stretch.
It was a difficult time for Qatar. He faced from doubts and suspicions related to the election to complaints from international organizations, changes in FIFA authorities that put uncertainty into the process and even a pandemic that threatened and still complicates. However, a year after the start of the contest, everything is almost ready.
The construction of the stadiums is always the main issue for the host nations of a Cup. And even more so for Qatar, which had to do almost from scratch the eight World Cup stages. At this moment, there are 5 already inaugurated and 3 within days of doing so.
The first to reopen was the Khalifa International, in May 2017. Historic home of Qatari football, it was built in 1976, when almost the entire population of Doha could fit in its stands. The remodeling to adapt to FIFA’s requirements had a main axis: the new cooling system, unique in the world.
In 2019 the Al Janoub stadium by Al Wakrah, built from scratch for the Cup and started five years earlier. In June 2020, in the midst of a pandemic and with a virtual event, the Education City, and at the end of that year it was the turn of the Ahmed bin Ali by Al Rayyan.
Already in 2021, last October he received his first official match on Al Thumama, with a shocking party. This year they will also open their doors Al Bayt and Ras Abu Aboud, in the Arab Cup to be organized by FIFA between November and December. The last to turn on its lights will be the one at the end, the Iconic of Lusail.
The main stages did not suffer few problems in their construction. In February 2021, The Guardian reported that more than 6,500 workers lost their lives on construction sites. Furthermore, Amnesty International called on FIFA to “act on labor abuses”. Hassan Al Thawadi, in charge of directing the preparations for the event, told the CNN that the figure was “inherently misleading” and lacked context. In Doha they estimate a very different death toll, claiming that there have been only three work-related deaths in stadiums and 35 unrelated deaths.
The rest of the infrastructure for the World Cup is ready at “95 percent”, a very different situation from South Africa, Brazil and Russia, the last three organizers a year earlier. It is true that Qatar had more time to prepare and that the fact that the championship is played within a radius of less than 50 kilometers makes preparations easy, although no one doubts that everything will be ready and in condition within 365 days.
Despite the closeness between the sub-headquarters, the transportation system was remodeled with new metro and train lines that will make the transfer very easy. In less than an hour you can travel between the two furthest stadiums. They seek to reduce traffic and also polluting emissions.
The other great point of importance is the accommodation and hospitality, in a country that is not used to receiving such a large number of visitors. According to what the Qatari authorities have declared, 46,000 hotel rooms will be built in addition to the existing ones. In addition, it will be possible to camp and there will also be cruise ships moored on the coast to host about 60,000 fans. In this aspect there will also be no problem arriving in time and form at the start of the tournament in a year.
Without a doubt, it will be a very unique World Cup. The first in the Middle East, the first at the end of the year and the “smallest” in history since Uruguay 1930. Qatar already has everything ready to receive the great world party.