2022 World Cup in Qatar: £ 120bn spent, state-of-the-art stadiums and human rights concerns

A beating from San Marino and seven goals from Harry Kane later and England sealed qualification for the 2022 Qatar World Cup in the last international break.

Which means that with one year to go, the countdown for Qatar is on – set to be one of the most original, expensive and controversial World Cups of all time.

Taking place during the regular season, due to the extreme heat of the country, the tournament will run from late November to mid-December, actually ending a week before Christmas Day.

Average temperatures will always be around 24 ° C, so pleasant and warm for the competitors.

But the weather won’t be the only problem for the participating teams, as the country’s record for human rights sounds the alarm bells.

With 12 months, Mirror Sport takes a look at the World Cup that makes everyone talk …

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The incredible cost

Qatar is the size of Yorkshire with 2.8 million people. But thanks to a fortune based on liquid natural gas, it is the richest country in the world per capita. This means that this World Cup will also be one of the most lavish.

Around £ 120bn has been spent on the country’s infrastructure to prepare for the tournament, including a new town, Lusail, to host the final, a new airport and rail system as well as seven new stadiums. To add to the costs, organizers are in talks with Abba, Lady Gaga and Aerosmith to perform at the tournament. It is no coincidence that all of them are signed by Universal, a FIFA partner.

A host country unlike any other

As it is the first to take place in the Middle East, this World Cup is also the first to take place in winter to avoid the scorching heat of the summer months which can reach over 42 degrees Celsius. However, even in winter, temperatures could still be over 25 degrees C.

To counter this, World Cup stadiums have been fitted with giant air conditioning systems in which cold air is pumped to the side of the pitch to keep players – and fans – cool. The air conditioning will keep the stadium’s ambient temperature at 22 degrees Celsius, the equivalent of a summer day in England in June.

Qatar is one of the hottest countries on the planet. Temperatures got so high in the summer that authorities began to introduce OUTDOOR air conditioning in street and outdoor markets.

English fans will have to behave

England have not always had the best demeanor in football tournaments and for this one they will have to be more restrained. Alcohol is prohibited for the general population in Qatar.

For this event, English visitors wishing to refresh themselves with alcohol will have to go to special “wet fan zones” for a drink which will be located away from stadiums and city centers.

But even if everything will be imported, the cost of a beer is expected to remain around £ 5. Alcohol will also be served on cruise ships used to greet fans in the capital’s port, Doha, and in stadiums, but only for those who sign up for expensive hospitality packages.

Not your usual accommodation

One million fans from all over the world are expected during the tournament – 130,000 will be accommodated in hotels (2-5 *), others in 60,000 apartments will be made available. Amid fears of a housing shortage, Qatar is embarking on a construction spree on two dozen hotel sites.

Sadly, not all rooms will enjoy lavish ocean views – the Madinatna apartment complex, which will house 27,000 fans, is stuck in the desert 24 km from Doha, surrounded by an 18-lane highway. . There’s also £ 150 a night glamping in Bedouin-style tents in the desert, or fans can choose to stay in Dubai and take the 70-minute flight to Qatar for the matches they want to see.







More refined hotels are located in the Pearl of Doha in Qatar
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Thousands of supporters will also have cabins on luxury cruise ships docked in the port of Doha. Poolside cinemas, hot tubs, spa centers, and ocean-view rooms aren’t exactly what fans are used to.

The 94,409 ton cruise liner MSC Poesia is a vessel that will be docked off Doha for the tournament with shuttles available to transport supporters to nearby stations so they can get to the matches. The luxury ship also has a welcoming waterfall to a Zen garden, sushi bar, gym, mini-golf, tennis court and poker room. Some might say that with all this entertainment, who needs football?

Controversies

These revolve around two issues, the first being the claim that Qatar won the right to host the World Cup thanks to a corrupt bid in 2010. The Doha authorities deny the wrongdoing and the country was cleared by a FIFA report in 2017.

There are also human rights.

Earlier this year, The Guardian reported that 6,500 South Asian migrant workers have died since Qatar won the right to host the World Cup almost eleven years ago. It is not known how many were directly involved in World Cup projects or in the country’s broader construction program. Qatar has reported 38 worker fatalities on World Cup construction programs.

David Beckham has come under fire for his decision to be the ‘face’ of Qatar’s World Cup in a ten-year £ 150 deal.







Foreign workers working on the construction site of the al-Wakrah football stadium
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Amnesty International said he should use his position to “keep the world’s attention on the human rights issues surrounding the matches” at next year’s tournament. In a report, the charity criticized the host country for failing to investigate the deaths of construction workers after long shifts in the extreme heat of the desert.

In response, Qatar introduced reforms to improve conditions for workers, limiting the hours they have to work during the summer heat, and introduced a minimum wage. Doha officials say they are targeting dishonest entrepreneurs they accuse of human rights violations.

A government spokesperson said: “Qatar has never shied away from acknowledging that its labor system is still under construction.”

After Norwegian and Danish players staged their own protests, the England coach said his team would “learn” about human rights issues in Qatar ahead of the tournament.

Cover up in the stands

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, but authorities have said gay fans will be welcome and rainbow flags will be allowed on the grounds. Public displays of affection are prohibited, so avoid kissing your partner when a goal comes into play, whether you are gay or straight. Although women are required to be dressed “modestly”, they will not have to cover their hair.

The stages

For the tournament, the Qataris have built no less than seven new stadiums.

The designs are inspired by regional culture, one resembles a giant desert tent and the other resembles a traditional woven men’s hat, called a gahfiya.

One was built from sea containers to reflect Doha’s history as a port. Authorities have said its top tier, which is assembled much like lego, can be dismantled after the tournament and rebuilt in a developing country.

The late Anglo-Iraqi architect Dame Zaha Hadid designed another stadium inspired by the fluid form of a dhow which, sadly, was compared to a woman’s vagina.







The al Janoub stadium
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Ms Hadid was furious when people started making the comparison after the artist’s prints were published in 2013.

“It’s really embarrassing that they find absurd stuff like that. What are they saying? Anything that has a hole is a vagina? It’s ridiculous, ”she said.

Room with a view

Al-Bayt Stadium has a five-star hotel room so you can literally step out onto your balcony and cheer on your team still in your dressing gown and slippers.

Turn the desert green

By the time the tournament kicks off, a million trees will have been planted around stadiums and recreation areas to bring greenery to the desert.







The al-Bayt stadium has hotel rooms with a view of the pitch
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Five years ago, Qatar turned 800,000 square meters of desert into a giant nursery not only for growing trees – many of which are imported from China, Thailand and Australia – but also for the turf on which the matches will be played. The site is irrigated with recycled water from a local wastewater treatment plant.

And a few fake boos …

In 2018, a British company hired actors to stage a loud protest in Downing Street when the Emir of Qatar arrived for talks with Theresa May. The shady demo was thought to be the work of Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates, which at the time were embroiled in a long diplomatic row with Qatar.

The dispute was resolved earlier this year and there is now general unity between the Gulf countries ahead of the region’s first World Cup.

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Dora W. Clawson