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Nov 21, 2021

Clock Ticks: One Year To Go For World Cup In Qatar

Arun Ranjit
ONE YEAR AHEAD: Qatar ready to host FIFA World Cup 2022. Image Sportsmonk
ONE YEAR AHEAD: Qatar ready to host FIFA World Cup 2022. Image Sportsmonk

Today is November 21. Exactly a year later on November 21, 2022 the FIFA World Cup will kicks-off in Al Khor city of Qatar amidst a huge fans and officials from around the nook and corner of the world.

Resource-rich Qatar has been active in other sports apart from football, holding the world athletics championships in 2019 and its inaugural Formula One grand prix to be opened- TODAY on Sunday, exactly a year before the World Cup opens.

But the World Cup, with 1.2 million visitors pouring in nearly half the country’s population is an undertaking of an altogether different scale.

Qatar is a country with most of area is flat, low-lying desert, which rises from the east to a central limestone plateau lies in a peninsular Arab country whose terrain comprises arid desert and a long Persian (Arab) Gulf shoreline of beaches and dunes.

Map/Britannica

Qatar was a fishing spot of a tiny Gulf state. But Qatar’s economic prosperity is derived from the extraction and export of petroleum discovered in 1939 and first produced in 1949 and natural gas. However, after becoming an independent nation in 1971 Qatar began to develop its natural gas resources in the mid-1990s. Overall, Qatar controls about 13% of the global oil reserves. Today the revenue from gas and oil drives the nation into the highest level making the economy of Qatar one of the richest in the world based on GDP per capita.

The economic book in Qatar has made the country a reputation for punching above its weight shows a peninsula of 2.7 million without a strong sporting tradition.

Sport in Qatar is primarily centred on football. Also other sports athletics, basketball, handball, volleyball, camel racing, cricket swimming are also widely practised. There are currently eleven multi-sports clubs in the country, and seven single-sports clubs.

The largest sporting event hosted in Qatar was the 2006 Asian Games hosted in Doha. There were 46 disciplines from 39 events contested. On 2 December 2010, Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, thus becoming the first Arab nation to host the tournament.

Logo of World Cup 2022, Photo Credit Gulf Times

Qatar rocked football in 2010 when they beat favourites the United States in the World Cup bid process. After upending the football establishment by winning the right to host the World Cup, Qatar has been continuing its preparations for the World Cup.

Aiming to welcome more than a million fans. As some infrastructure projects were delayed by the pandemic, the clock is ticking more loudly than organizers might have liked, just as scrutiny of the preparations starts to rise for the World Cup destiny.

As in various reports, so far Qatar has been on the track to host with amazing infrastructures. Thus, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said “I’ve never seen a country in the world which has been so ready so much in advance… it will be like a toy store for fans when they come.”

The opening match of FIFA World Cup 2022 will be held in Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor. The tournament will take place over 28 days. The play-off for third place will be at Khalifa International Stadium on December 17.

A general view of Al Bayt Stadium at Al Khor City, Qatar. (Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

On December 18, 2022, also the National Day of Qatar, the country’s capital Doha based Lusail Stadium will host the 2022 decider.

Lusail Stadium

Qatar has also faced much criticism of the working conditions of its hundreds of thousands of migrant labourers, including those who built the World Cup stadiums. 

“Since we won the World Cup (rights) we have received a lot of criticism. There is constructive criticism that we tried to take on board,” Fatma al-Nuaimi, head of communications at the Qatar organising committee, said last month. “We also try not to let this criticism stop us.”

Serious questions are being asked about where the fans will stay, with reservations already closed at Doha’s limited collection of hotels. Officials have talked about providing floating hotels and promoting home-stays while many fans will end up in newly built apartments and even air-conditioned tents that will accommodate nearly about 300,000 a day plus 150,000 World Cup workers.

Also, Qatar has pledged to vaccinate fans who are not inoculated against COVID-19 while FIFA has moved to allay concerns about the availability of alcohol in the Muslim country, where it is largely banned.

“Though alcohol is not allowed in the Muslim cultural society, even though the Qatar has managed Alcohol to be available in designated areas during the upcoming FIFA World Cup targeting the fans out of Muslim community,” the authority at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy told.

Reviewing the players’ reference the expectations are low for the host Qatar, who will make their World Cup debut after qualifying as hosts, despite their impressive Asian Cup victory in 2019. Whoever wins the FIFA World Cup 2022 Cup and the coveted title is not a big issue.

HISTORIC DAY OF 2010 FOR QATAR as it wins the right to host the World Cup 2022. ABC Photo

But now it’s almost 11 years passed, an acrimony and accusation, controversy and scandal, when it has felt entirely reasonable to ask whether, deep down, in private moments and surreptitious whispers, some of those involved in winning the 2022 World Cup for Qatar might have wondered whether it has all been worth for all 2,948,232 Qataris.

See you in Doha after365 days!!!