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2022 FIFA World Cup

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2022 FIFA World Cup
Standard Arabic: كأس العالم 2022
Gulf Arabic: كاس العالم ٢٠٢٢
Qatar 2022
قطر ٢٠٢٢‎
2022 FIFA World Cup.svg
The official emblem
Now is All
Tournament details
Host countryQatar
Dates20 November – 18 December[a]
Teams32 (from 5 confederations)
Venue(s)8 (in 5 host cities)
2018
2026

The 2022 FIFA World Cup (Standard Arabic: كأس العالم 2022, romanized: Kaʾsu al-ʿālami 2022; Gulf Arabic: كاس العالم ٢٠٢٢, romanized: Kāsu al-ʿālami 2022) is scheduled to be the 22nd running of the FIFA World Cup competition, the quadrennial international men's football championship contested by the senior national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December 2022. This will be the first World Cup ever to be held in the Arab world,[1] and the second World Cup held entirely in Asia after the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.[b] In addition, the tournament will be the last to involve 32 teams, with an increase to 48 teams scheduled for the 2026 tournament in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Due to Qatar's intense summer heat, this World Cup will be held from late-November to mid-December, making it the first tournament not to be held in May, June, or July; it will be played in a reduced timeframe of around 29 days.[2] The first match played at the tournament will be contested between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor. The final is due to be held on 18 December 2022, which also is Qatar National Day. The reigning World Cup champions are France.[3]

In May 2011, allegations of corruption within the FIFA senior officials raised questions over the legitimacy of the World Cup 2022 being held in Qatar. The accusations of corruption have been made relating to how Qatar won the right to host the event. A FIFA internal investigation and report cleared Qatar of any violation, but chief investigator Michael J. Garcia has since described FIFA's report on his enquiry as containing "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations."[4] On 27 May 2015, Swiss federal prosecutors opened an investigation into corruption and money laundering related to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.[5][6] On 6 August 2018, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter claimed that Qatar had used "black ops", suggesting that the bid committee had cheated to win the hosting rights.[7]

Additionally, Qatar has faced strong criticism due to the treatment of foreign workers involved in preparation for the World Cup, with Amnesty International referring to "forced labour" and poor working conditions,[8] while many migrant workers reported having to pay large "recruitment fees" to obtain employment.[9] An investigation by The Guardian newspaper claimed that many workers are denied food and water, have their identity papers taken away from them, and that they are not paid on time or at all, making some of them in effect slaves. The Guardian has estimated that up to 4,000 workers may die due to lax safety and other causes by the time the competition is held. Between 2015 and 2021, the Qatari government adopted new labour reforms to improve working conditions, including a minimum wage for all workers and the removal of the kafala system. According to Amnesty International, however, living and working conditions of the foreign workers have not improved in the last years.[10]

Host selection

The bidding procedure to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups began in January 2009, and national associations had until 2 February 2009 to register their interest.[11] Initially, eleven bids were made for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but Mexico later withdrew from proceedings,[12][13] and Indonesia's bid was rejected by FIFA in February 2010 after the Indonesian Football Association failed to submit a letter of Indonesian government guarantee to support the bid.[14] Indonesian officials had not ruled out a bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, until Qatar was awarded the 2022 tournament.[citation needed] During the bidding process, all non-UEFA nations gradually withdrew their 2018 bids, thus guaranteeing that a UEFA nation would host the 2018 tournament and thereby making UEFA nations ineligible for the 2022 bid.[citation needed]

In the end, there were five bids for the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, and the United States. The twenty-two member FIFA Executive Committee convened in Zürich on 2 December 2010 to vote to select the hosts of both tournaments.[15] Two FIFA executive committee members were suspended before the vote in relation to allegations of corruption regarding their votes.[16] The decision to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which was graded as having "high operational risk",[17] generated criticism from media commentators.[18] It has been criticised by many as being part of the FIFA corruption scandals.[19]

The voting patterns were as follows:[20]

2022 FIFA bidding (majority 12 votes)
Bidders Votes
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Qatar 11 10 11 14
United States 3 5 6 8
South Korea 4 5 5 Eliminated
Japan 3 2 Eliminated
Australia 1 Eliminated

There have been allegations of bribery and corruption in the selection process involving FIFA's executive committee members. These allegations are being investigated by FIFA (see § Bidding corruption allegations, below).

Qatar is the smallest nation by area ever to have been awarded a FIFA World Cup – the next smallest by area is Switzerland, host of the 1954 FIFA World Cup, which is more than three times as large as Qatar and only needed to host 16 teams instead of the current 32.

Qatar also became only the second country (not including Uruguay and Italy, hosts of the first two World Cups) to be awarded a FIFA World Cup despite having never qualified for a previous edition: Japan was awarded co-hosting rights of the 2002 World Cup in 1996 without ever having qualified for the finals, although they subsequently did qualify for the 1998 World Cup.

Some investigations found that Qatar sought an edge in securing hosting by hiring a former CIA officer turned private contractor, Kevin Chalker, to spy on rival bid teams and key football officials who picked the winner in 2010.[21]

Teams

Qualification

FIFA's six continental confederations organise their own qualifying competitions. All FIFA member associations, of which there are currently 211, were eligible to enter qualification. Qatar, as hosts, qualified automatically for the tournament. However, the AFC obliged Qatar to participate in the Asian qualifying stage as the first two rounds also act as qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.[22] Since Qatar reached the final stage as winners in their group, Lebanon, the fifth-best second place team, advanced instead.[23] The reigning World Cup champions France also went through qualifying stages as normal.[24] Saint Lucia initially entered qualification but withdrew from it before their first match. North Korea withdrew from the qualifying round due to safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. American Samoa and Samoa both withdrew before the OFC draw. Tonga withdrew after the 2022 Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai eruption and tsunami. Due to COVID-19 outbreaks in their squads, Vanuatu and Cook Islands also withdrew because of the travel restrictions.

Of the 32 nations qualified to play at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, 24 countries competed at the previous tournament in 2018. Qatar are the only team making their debut in the FIFA World Cup, becoming the first hosts to make their tournament debut since Italy in 1934. As a result, the 2022 tournament is the first World Cup in which none of the teams that earned a spot through qualification were making their debut. The Netherlands, Ecuador, Ghana, Cameroon and the United States returned to the tournament after missing the 2018 tournament. Canada returned after 36 years, their only prior appearance being in 1986.[25] Wales made their first appearance in 64 years – a record gap for a European team, their only previous participation having been in 1958.[26]

Four-time world champions and reigning European champions Italy failed to qualify for a second successive World Cup for the first time in their history, losing in the qualification play-off semi-finals.[27] The Italians were the only former champions that failed to qualify. Italy are also the fourth team to have failed to qualify for the upcoming World Cup having won the previous UEFA European Championship, after Czechoslovakia in 1978, Denmark in 1994 and Greece in 2006.[28][29][c] The previous World Cup hosts, Russia, were disqualified from competing due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[30] Chile, the 2015 and 2016 Copa América winners also failed to qualify for the second consecutive time. Nigeria went out to Ghana on away goals in CAF's final playoff round, having qualified for the previous three World Cups and six out of the last seven. Egypt, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Iceland and Sweden, all of whom qualified for the 2018 World Cup, also did not qualify for the 2022 tournament.

Draw

The final draw was held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Doha, Qatar,[31] on 1 April 2022,[32] 19:00 AST, prior to the completion of qualification. The two winners of the inter-confederation play-offs and the winner of the Path A of the UEFA play-offs were not known at the time of the draw.[33]

For the draw, the 32 teams were allocated into four pots based on the FIFA Men's World Rankings of 31 March 2022.[34] Pot one contained the hosts Qatar (who were automatically assigned to position A1) and the best seven teams. Pot two contained the next best eight teams, with the next best eight teams into pot 3. Pot 4 contained the five lowest-ranked teams, along with the placeholders for the two inter-confederation play-off winners and the UEFA Path A play-off winner. Teams from the same confederation could not be drawn into the same group except for UEFA teams, for which there was at least one and no more than two per group. This principle also applied to the placeholder teams, with constraints applying based on the confederation of both potential winners of each play-off tie. The draw started with pot 1 and ended with pot 4, with each team selected then allocated into the first available group alphabetically. The position for the team within the group would then be drawn (for the purpose of the match schedule), with the pot 1 teams automatically drawn into position 1 of each group.[35] The pots for the draw are shown below.[36]

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4

 Qatar (51) (hosts)
 Brazil (1)
 Belgium (2)
 France (3)
 Argentina (4)
 England (5)
 Spain (7)
 Portugal (8)

 Mexico (9)
 Netherlands (10)
 Denmark (11)
 Germany (12)
 Uruguay (13)
  Switzerland (14)
 United States (15)
 Croatia (16)

 Senegal (20)
 Iran (21)
 Japan (23)
 Morocco (24)
 Serbia (25)
 Poland (26)
 South Korea (29)
 Tunisia (35)

 Cameroon (37)
 Canada (38)
 Ecuador (46)
 Saudi Arabia (49)
 Ghana (60)
 Wales (18) [d]
 Costa Rica (31) [e]
 Australia (42) [f]

Officiating

On 19 May 2022, FIFA announced the list of 36 referees, and 69 assistant referees and 24 video assistant referees for the tournament. Of the 36 referees, FIFA included two each from Argentina, Brazil, England and France.[37][38] For the first time women referees will referee games at a major men's tournament.

Stéphanie Frappart from France, Rwandan Salima Mukansanga and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan became the first female referees to be appointed to a men's World Cup.[39] They will be joined by three female assistant referees, also a first. Frappart oversaw the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Final.[40] Gambian referee Bakary Gassama and Argentine assistant referee Juan Pablo Belatti are among the officials to serve at their third World Cup. Belatti was an assistant referee in the 2018 final.[41][42][43] Other returning officials include referees César Arturo Ramos of Mexico and Janny Sikazwe of Zambia, and Iranian assistant referee Mohammadreza Mansouri.[44][45][46]

Venues

The first five proposed venues for the World Cup were unveiled at the beginning of March 2010. The country intends the stadiums to reflect the historical and cultural aspects of Qatar, and for the designs to meet the following terms of reference: legacy, comfort, accessibility, and sustainability.[47] The stadiums will be equipped with cooling systems that aim to reduce temperatures within the stadium by up to 20 °C (36 °F), but it is not yet known if this will actually work in the open-air stadiums. Their marketing includes statements describing the stadiums as Zero Waste, and the upper tiers of the stadiums will be disassembled after the World Cup and donated to countries with less developed sports infrastructure.[48][49] Qatar aspires to be compliant and certified by the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) for all the World Cup stadiums. All of the five stadium projects launched have been designed by German architect Albert Speer & Partners.[50] The Al Bayt Stadium will be the only indoor stadium of the eight used.[51]

A report released on 9 December 2010 quoted FIFA President Sepp Blatter as stating that other nations could host some matches during the World Cup. However, no specific countries were named in the report.[52] Blatter added that any such decision must be taken by Qatar first and then endorsed by FIFA's executive committee.[53] Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan told the Australian Associated Press that holding games in Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and possibly Saudi Arabia would help to incorporate the people of the region during the tournament.[54]

According to a report released in April 2013 by Merrill Lynch, the investment banking division of Bank of America, the organisers in Qatar have requested FIFA to approve a smaller number of stadiums due to the growing costs.[55] Bloomberg.com said that Qatar wishes to cut the number of venues to eight or nine from the twelve originally planned.[56]

Although, by April 2017, FIFA had yet to finalise the number of stadiums Qatar must have readied in five years' time, Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said it expected there would be eight in and near Doha (with the exception of Al Khor).[57][58]

In January 2019, Infantino said that FIFA was exploring the possibility of having neighbouring countries host matches during the tournament, in order to reduce political tensions.[59]

Stadium 974, formerly known as Ras Abu Aboud, is the seventh FIFA World Cup 2022 venue to be completed by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC). Its name comes from the number of shipping containers used in its construction and Qatar's international dialing code. The stadium will host seven matches during the event.[60]

Lusail Al Khor Doha
Lusail Iconic Stadium Al Bayt Stadium Stadium 974 Al Thumama Stadium
Capacity: 80,000
Capacity: 60,000[61] Capacity: 40,000[62] Capacity: 40,000[63]
Host cities in Qatar Stadiums in Doha area
Al Rayyan Al Wakrah
Khalifa International Stadium Education City Stadium Ahmad bin Ali Stadium[g] Al Janoub Stadium
Capacity: 45,416[64] Capacity: 45,350[65] Capacity: 44,740[66]
Capacity: 40,000[67]
Khalifa Stadium, Doha, Brazil vs Argentina (2010).jpg Visita ao estádio de futebol Al Janoub.jpg

Schedule

Unlike previous FIFA World Cups, which are typically played in June and July, the 2022 World Cup will be played in November and December to avoid the intense Qatari summer heat. As a result, the World Cup will be unusually staged in the middle of the seasons of domestic football leagues which start in late July or August, including all of the major European leagues, which have been obliged to incorporate extended breaks into their domestic schedules to accommodate the World Cup. In contrast, domestic leagues which typically start their seasons in the northern spring and play through the summer, such as Major League Soccer, will be able to conclude their seasons before the start of the tournament.

The match schedule was confirmed by FIFA on 15 July 2020.[68] The only group stage fixture with a venue and time confirmed was on the opening day featuring the hosts Qatar, will be played on 20 November 2022 at the Al Bayt Stadium. During the group stage, four matches will be played each day, with kick-off times being 13:00, 16:00, 19:00, and 22:00 for the first two rounds, and 18:00 and 22:00 for the simultaneous kick-offs of the last round and for knockout stage matches. The third-place match will be played on 17 December 2022 at the Khalifa International Stadium, and the final will be played on 18 December 2022 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, both at 18:00.[69]

Unlike previous tournaments where the match venues and kick-off times for each fixture are set prior to the draw, the assignment of group fixtures for each matchday to a specific venue and kick-off time was only be made after the group stage draw and the teams of each specific fixture are known. This is due to the close proximity of the venues, which allowed the organisers to optimise stadium allocation for spectators and kick-off times for television audiences.[68] The group stage matches for each group will be allocated to the following stadiums:[69]

FIFA confirmed the group stage venue and kick-off times on 1 April 2022, following the draw.[70][71] On 10 August, FIFA submitted a proposal for Qatar's opening game against Ecuador be rescheduled to 20 November, one day before originally planned.[72] Two days later, the decision to move Qatar's first game was officially confirmed by FIFA.[73]

Group stage

Group A

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Qatar (H) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Ecuador 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Senegal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 20 November 2022. Source: FIFA
(H) Host
Qatar Match 1 Ecuador
Report
Senegal Match 2 Netherlands
Report

Qatar Match 18 Senegal
Report
Netherlands Match 19 Ecuador
Report

Ecuador Match 35 Senegal
Report
Netherlands Match 36 Qatar
Report

Group B

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  England 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Iran 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  United States 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 21 November 2022. Source: FIFA
England Match 3 Iran
Report
United States Match 4 Wales
Report

Wales Match 17 Iran
Report
England Match 20 United States
Report

Wales Match 33 England
Report
Iran Match 34 United States
Report

Group C

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Saudi Arabia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Mexico 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Poland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 22 November 2022. Source: FIFA
Argentina Match 8 Saudi Arabia
Report
Mexico Match 7 Poland
Report

Poland Match 22 Saudi Arabia
Report
Argentina Match 24 Mexico
Report

Poland Match 39 Argentina
Report
Saudi Arabia Match 40 Mexico
Report

Group D

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  France 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Denmark 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Tunisia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 22 November 2022. Source: FIFA
Denmark Match 6 Tunisia
Report
France Match 5 Australia
Report

Tunisia Match 21 Australia
Report
France Match 23 Denmark
Report

Australia Match 37 Denmark
Report
Tunisia Match 38 France
Report

Group E

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Costa Rica 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 23 November 2022. Source: FIFA
Germany Match 11 Japan
Report
Spain Match 10 Costa Rica
Report

Japan Match 25 Costa Rica
Report
Spain Match 28 Germany
Report

Japan Match 43 Spain
Report
Costa Rica Match 44 Germany
Report

Group F

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Belgium 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Morocco 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Croatia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 23 November 2022. Source: FIFA
Morocco Match 12 Croatia
Report
Belgium Match 9 Canada
Report

Belgium Match 26 Morocco
Report
Croatia Match 27 Canada
Report

Croatia Match 41 Belgium
Report
Canada Match 42 Morocco
Report

Group G

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Brazil 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Serbia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3   Switzerland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Cameroon 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 24 November 2022. Source: FIFA
Switzerland  Match 13 Cameroon
Report
Brazil Match 16 Serbia
Report

Cameroon Match 29 Serbia
Report
Brazil Match 31  Switzerland
Report

Serbia Match 47  Switzerland
Report
Cameroon Match 48 Brazil
Report

Group H

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Portugal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Ghana 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Uruguay 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  South Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 24 November 2022. Source: FIFA
Uruguay Match 14 South Korea
Report
Portugal Match 15 Ghana
Report

South Korea Match 30 Ghana
Report
Portugal Match 32 Uruguay
Report

Ghana Match 45 Uruguay
Report
South Korea Match 46 Portugal
Report

Knockout stage

In the knockout stage, if a match is level at the end of normal playing time, extra time is played (two periods of 15 minutes each) and followed, if necessary, by a penalty shoot-out to determine the winners.[74]

Bracket

 
Round of 16Quarter-finalsSemi-finalsFinal
 
              
 
3 December – Al Rayyan (Khalifa)
 
 
Winners Group A
 
9 December – Lusail
 
Runners-up Group B
 
Winners Match 49
 
3 December – Al Rayyan (Ahmad bin Ali)
 
Winners Match 50
 
Winners Group C
 
13 December – Lusail
 
Runners-up Group D
 
Winners Match 57
 
5 December – Al Wakrah
 
Winners Match 58
 
Winners Group E
 
9 December – Al Rayyan (Education)
 
Runners-up Group F
 
Winners Match 53
 
5 December – Doha (974)
 
Winners Match 54
 
Winners Group G
 
18 December – Lusail
 
Runners-up Group H
 
Winners Match 61
 
4 December – Al Khor
 
Winners Match 62
 
Winners Group B
 
10 December – Al Khor
 
Runners-up Group A
 
Winners Match 51
 
4 December – Doha (Al Thumama)
 
Winners Match 52
 
Winners Group D
 
14 December – Al Khor
 
Runners-up Group C
 
Winners Match 59
 
6 December – Al Rayyan (Education)
 
Winners Match 60Third place play-off
 
Winners Group F
 
10 December – Doha (Al Thumama)17 December – Al Rayyan (Khalifa)
 
Runners-up Group E
 
Winners Match 55Losers Match 61
 
6 December – Lusail
 
Winners Match 56Losers Match 62
 
Winners Group H
 
 
Runners-up Group G
 

Round of 16

Winners Group AMatch 49Runners-up Group B

Winners Group CMatch 50Runners-up Group D

Winners Group DMatch 52Runners-up Group C

Winners Group BMatch 51Runners-up Group A

Winners Group EMatch 53Runners-up Group F

Winners Group GMatch 54Runners-up Group H

Winners Group FMatch 55Runners-up Group E

Winners Group HMatch 56Runners-up Group G

Quarter-finals

Winners Match 53Match 58Winners Match 54

Winners Match 49Match 57Winners Match 50

Winners Match 55Match 60Winners Match 56

Winners Match 51Match 59Winners Match 52

Semi-finals

Winners Match 57Match 61Winners Match 58

Winners Match 59Match 62Winners Match 60

Third place play-off

Losers Match 61Match 63Losers Match 62

Final

Winners Match 61Match 64Winners Match 62


Marketing

Branding

The official emblem was designed by Lisbon-based Brandia Central branding agency and unveiled on 3 September 2019 during simultaneous events at the Doha Tower, Katara Cultural Village Amphitheatre, Msheireb Downtown Doha, and Zubarah. It is designed to resemble the tournament trophy, the infinity symbol, and the number "8", reflecting upon the "interconnected" event and the eight host stadiums. It also evokes imagery of shawls to signify the tournament's winter scheduling, and contains waves resembling desert dunes. The typography of the emblem's wordmark incorporates kashida—the practice of elongating certain parts of characters in Arabic script to provide typographical emphasis.[75][76][77]

Mascot

The tournament's official mascot was unveiled on 1 April 2022, during the group stage draw. Its name is La’eeb, which is an Arabic word meaning "super-skilled player". The official website of FIFA says: "La’eeb will be known for his youthful spirit; spreading joy and confidence everywhere he goes", and the official backstory of the character, published there, claims that it comes from a parallel world where tournament mascots live, "a world where ideas and creativity form the basis of characters that live in the minds of everyone".[78]

Match ball

The official match ball, the "Al Rihla", was unveiled on 30 March 2022. It was mainly inspired by the culture, architecture, iconic boats and flag of Qatar. In Arabic, the word Al Rihla means "the journey". The ball was designed with sustainability as a priority, making it the first ever official match ball created with water-based glues and inks.

As "the game is getting faster" and "speeds up", Adidas used some new features, allowing to provide speed and improve the accuracy of the ball.[79]

Official song

The official song of the tournament is "Hayya Hayya (Better Together)", performed by Trinidad Cardona, Davido and AISHA, released on 1 April 2022 along with the music video.[80]

Controversies

A number of groups and media outlets have expressed concern over the suitability of Qatar to host the event,[81][82] with regard to interpretations of human rights, particularly worker conditions and the rights of fans in the LGBT community because of the illegality of homosexuality in Qatar.[82][83][84][85] In December 2020, Qatar allowed the rainbow flags at the 2022 World Cup.[86] Hassan Abdulla al Thawadi, chief executive of the country's 2022 World Cup bid, said that Qatar would permit alcohol consumption during the event,[87][88] even though drinking in public is not permitted, as the country's legal system is based on Sharia.[89]

The selection of Qatar as the host country has been controversial; FIFA officials were accused of corruption and allowing Qatar to "buy" the World Cup,[90] the treatment of construction workers was called into question by human rights groups,[91] and the high costs needed to make the plans a reality were criticised. The climate conditions caused some to call hosting the tournament in Qatar infeasible, with initial plans for air-conditioned stadiums giving way to a potential date switch from summer to winter.

In May 2014, Sepp Blatter, who was FIFA president at the time of the selection but later banned for illegal payments, remarked that awarding the World Cup to Qatar was a "mistake" because of the extreme heat.[92][93] However, while addressing delegates from African and Asian confederations, Blatter said allegations of corruption and some of the criticism, including those from sponsors, were "very much linked to racism and discrimination".[94]

Migrant workers, slavery allegations and deaths

The issue of migrant workers' rights also attracted attention, with a 2013 investigation by The Guardian newspaper claiming that many workers were denied food and water, had their identity papers taken away from them, and that they were not paid on time or at all, making some of them in effect slaves. The Guardian estimated that, by the time the competition would be held, without reforms of the kafala system,[95] out of the 2 million-strong migrant workforce[96] up to 4,000 workers could die due to lax safety and other causes.[91] These claims were based upon the fact that 522 Nepalese[97] workers and over 700 Indian[95] workers had died since 2010, when Qatar's bid as World Cup's host had been won, about 250 Indian workers dying each year.[98] Given that there were half a million Indian workers in Qatar, the Indian government said that was quite a normal number of deaths.[98]

In 2015, a crew of four journalists from the BBC were arrested and held for two days after they attempted to report on the condition of workers in the country.[99] The reporters had been invited to visit the country as guests of the Government of Qatar.[99]

The Wall Street Journal reported in June 2015 the International Trade Union Confederation's claim that over 1,200 workers had died while working on infrastructure and real-estate projects related to the World Cup, and the Qatar Government's counter-claim that none had.[100] The BBC later reported that this often-cited figure of 1,200 workers having died in World Cup construction in Qatar between 2011 and 2013 is not correct, and that the 1,200 number is instead representing deaths from all Indians and Nepalese working in Qatar, not just of those workers involved in the preparation for the World Cup, and not just of construction workers.[98] Most Qatari nationals avoid doing manual work or low-skilled jobs; additionally, they are given preference at the workplace.[101] Michael van Praag, president of the Royal Dutch Football Association, requested the FIFA Executive Committee to pressure Qatar over those allegations to ensure better workers' conditions. He also stated that a new vote on the attribution of the World Cup to Qatar would have to take place if the corruption allegations were to be proved.[102]

In March 2016, Amnesty International accused Qatar of using forced labour, forcing the employees to live in poor conditions, and withholding their wages and passports. It also accused FIFA of failing to stop the stadium from being built on "human right abuses." Migrant workers told Amnesty about verbal abuse and threats they received after complaining about not being paid for up to several months. Nepali workers were even denied leave to visit their family after the 2015 Nepal earthquake.[103]

In October 2017, the International Trade Union Confederation said that Qatar had signed an agreement to improve the situation of more than 2 million migrant workers in the country. According to the ITUC, the agreement provided for establishing substantial reforms in labour system, including ending the Kafala system. The ITUC also stated that the agreement would positively affect the general situation of workers, especially those who work on the 2022 FIFA World Cup infrastructure projects. The workers will no longer need their employer's permission to leave the country or change their jobs.[104]

In February 2019, Amnesty International questioned whether Qatar would complete the promised labour reforms before the start of the World Cup, a sentiment that FIFA backed. Amnesty International found that abuses were still occurring despite the nation taking some steps to improve labour rights.[105]

In May 2019, an investigation by the UK's Daily Mirror newspaper discovered some of the 28,000 workers on the stadiums are being paid 750 Qatari Riyal per month, which is equivalent to £190 per month or 99 pence an hour for a typical 48-hour week.[106]

Hendriks Graszoden, the turf supplier for the 2006 World Cup and for the European Championships in 2008 and 2016, refused to supply Qatar with World Cup turf. According to company spokesperson Gerdien Vloet, one reason for this decision was the accusations of human rights abuses.[107]

In April 2020, the government of Qatar provided $824 million to pay the wages of migrant workers in quarantine or undergoing treatment for COVID-19.[108][109]

In August 2020, the Qatari government announced a monthly minimum wage for all workers of 1,000 riyals (US$275), an increase from the previous temporary minimum wage of 750 riyals a month.[110][111] The new laws went into effect in March 2021.[112] The International Labour Organization said "Qatar is the first country in the region to introduce a non-discriminatory minimum wage, which is a part of a series of historical reforms of the country's labour laws,"[113] while the campaign group Migrant Rights said the new minimum wage was too low to meet migrant workers' need with Qatar's high cost of living.[114] In addition, employers are obligated to pay 300 riyals for food and 500 riyals for accommodation, if they do not provide employees with these directly. The No Objection Certificate was removed so that employees can change jobs without consent of the current employer. A Minimum Wage Committee was also formed to check on the implementation.[115] These reforms removed the kafala system and a contractual system was introduced.[96][116]

In March 2021, an investigative report published by The Guardian used data from embassies and national foreign employment offices to estimate migrant worker death toll since World Cup was awarded to Qatar. Between 2010 and late 2020 over 6,500 migrant workers from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar.[117]

At the 2022 FIFA Congress in Doha, Lise Klaveness—head of the Norwegian Football Federation—criticised the organisation for having awarded the World Cup to Qatar, citing the various controversies surrounding the tournament. She argued that "in 2010 World Cups were awarded by FIFA in unacceptable ways with unacceptable consequences. Human rights, equality, democracy: the core interests of football were not in the starting XI until many years later. These basic rights were pressured onto the field as substitutes by outside voices. FIFA has addressed these issues but there's still a long way to go."[118][119] Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary general of Qatar 2022, criticised her remarks for ignoring the country's recent labour reforms.[119]

The European Union's Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2021 noted Qatar's labour law reforms that had incorporated non-discriminatory minimum wage systems and removal of the Kafala system in 2021.[120]

Move to November and December

Owing to the climate in Qatar, concerns were expressed over holding the World Cup in its traditional timeframe of June and July. In October 2013, a task force was commissioned to consider alternative dates and report after the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.[121] On 24 February 2015, the FIFA Task Force proposed that the tournament be played from late November to late December 2022,[122] to avoid the summer heat between May and September and also avoid clashing with the 2022 Winter Olympics in February, the 2022 Winter Paralympics in March and Ramadan in April.[123][124]

The notion of staging the tournament in November is controversial since it would interfere with the regular season schedules of some domestic leagues around the world. Commentators have noted the clash with the Western Christmas season is likely to cause disruption, whilst there is concern about how short the tournament is intended to be.[125] FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger said that awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar's desert state was a "blatant mistake".[126] Frank Lowy, chairman of Football Federation Australia, said that if the 2022 World Cup were moved to November and thus upset the schedule of the A-League, they would seek compensation from FIFA.[127] Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, stated that they would consider legal action against FIFA because a move would interfere with the Premier League's popular Christmas and New Year fixture programme.[128] On 19 March 2015, FIFA sources confirmed that the final would be played on 18 December.[129]

Bidding corruption allegations

Qatar has faced growing pressure over its hosting of the World Cup in relation to allegations over the role of former top football official Mohammed bin Hammam played in securing the bid.[130] A former employee of the Qatar bid team alleged[year needed] that several African officials were paid $1.5 million by Qatar.[131] She retracted her claims, but later said that she was coerced to do so by Qatari bid officials.[132][133] In March 2014, it was discovered that disgraced former CONCACAF president Jack Warner and his family were paid almost $2 million from a firm linked to Qatar's successful campaign. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating Warner and his alleged links to the Qatari bid.[134]

Five of FIFA's six primary sponsors, Sony, Adidas, Visa, Hyundai, and Coca-Cola, have called upon FIFA to investigate the claims.[135][136] The Sunday Times published bribery allegations based on a leak of millions of secret documents.[137] Jim Boyce, vice-president of FIFA, has gone on record stating he would support a re-vote to find a new host if the corruption allegations are proven.[138][139] FIFA completed a lengthy investigation into these allegations and a report cleared Qatar of any wrongdoing. Despite the claims, the Qataris insist that the corruption allegations are being driven by envy and mistrust while Sepp Blatter said it is fuelled by racism in the British media.[140][141]

In the 2015 FIFA corruption case, Swiss officials, operating under information from the United States Department of Justice, arrested many senior FIFA officials in Zurich, Switzerland. They also seized physical and electronic records from FIFA's main headquarters. The arrests continued in the United States, where several FIFA officers were arrested, and FIFA buildings were raided. The arrests were made on the information of at least a $150 million (USD) corruption and bribery scandal.[142]

On 7 June 2015, Phaedra Almajid, the former media officer for the Qatar bid team, claimed that the allegations would result in Qatar not hosting the World Cup.[143] In an interview published on the same day, Domenico Scala, the head of FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee, stated that "should there be evidence that the awards to Qatar and Russia came only because of bought votes, then the awards could be cancelled."[144][145]

Qatar diplomatic crisis

On 5 June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region and supporting terrorist groups. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt, in a letter, asked FIFA to replace Qatar as World Cup Host, calling the country as a "base of terrorism".[146] In October 2017, Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, deputy head of Dubai Police and General Security, wrote about the crisis on Twitter in Arabic; saying "If the World Cup leaves Qatar, Qatar's crisis will be over … because the crisis is created to get away from it". According to media reports, the message appeared to imply that the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar was only enacted due to Qatar hosting the world's biggest football event.[147] In reaction to media coverage of his tweet, Dhahi Khalfan tweeted; "I said Qatar is faking a crisis and claims it's besieged so it could get away from the burdens of building expensive sports facilities for the World Cup".[148] UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said Dhahi Khalfan had been misunderstood in media coverage. In response, Gargash clarified that Qatar's hosting of World Cup 2022 "should include a repudiation of policies supporting extremism & terrorism."[149]

Russian participation

On 9 December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) handed Russia a four-year ban from all major sporting events, after RUSADA was found non-compliant for handing over manipulated lab data to investigators.[150] The Russian national team were still permitted to enter qualification, as the ban only applied to the final tournament to decide the world champions. A team representing Russia, which uses the Russian flag and anthem, could not participate under the WADA decision whilst the ban is active.[151] The decision was appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,[152] and on 17 December 2020, Russian teams were banned from competing at world championships organised or sanctioned by a WADA signatory until 16 December 2022, the day before the third-place playoff.[153]

Russia's participation was further thrown into doubt after the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. On 24 February, the three teams in Russia's qualifying pathCzech Republic, Poland, and Sweden — announced their unwillingness to play any matches in Russian territory.[154] The boycott was extended on February 26 by Poland and Sweden to any qualifying games at all, and the same decision was made by the Czech Republic one day later.[155][156][157]

On 27 February 2022, FIFA announced a number of sanctions impacting Russia's participation in international football. Russia was prohibited from hosting international competitions, and the national team had been ordered to play all home matches behind closed doors in neutral countries. Under these sanctions, Russia would not be allowed to compete under the country's name, flag, or national anthem; similarly to the Russian athletes' participation in events such as the Olympics,[158] the team would compete under the abbreviation of their national federation, the Russian Football Union ("RFU"), rather than "Russia".[159] The next day, however, FIFA decided to suspend Russia from international competitions "until further notice", including its participation in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[160]

LGBT rights

Concerns have been raised about the rights of members of the LGBT community who attend the tournament, as homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, and also punishable by death for Muslims under Sharia.[82][161] After Qatar was chosen as host, Blatter was criticised for jokingly telling a reporter inquiring about these concerns that gay attendees "should refrain from any sexual activities".[162][163] In apology for the statement, Blatter assured that FIFA did not tolerate discrimination, and stated that "what we want to do is open this game to everybody, and to open it to all cultures, and this is what we are doing in 2022."[164] In 2013, Hassan al-Thawadi stated that everyone would be welcome at Qatar 2022, but warned against public displays of affection because they were "not part of our culture and tradition".[165]

In November 2021, Australian footballer Josh Cavallo, who came out as gay in October 2021,[166] said he would be afraid to travel to Qatar to play. Nasser Al Khater, head of the tournament's organising committee, replied that Cavallo would be "welcome" in the country.[167]

Qatari officials initially stated in December 2020 that, in accordance with FIFA's inclusion policy, it would not restrict the display of pro-LGBT imagery and symbols (such as rainbow flags) at matches during the World Cup.[168] However, in April 2022, a senior security official overseeing the tournament stated that there were plans to confiscate pride flags from spectators—allegedly as a safety measure to protect them from altercations with spectators that are anti-LGBT. Fare network criticised the report, arguing that actions against the LGBT community by the state were of a greater concern to those attending the World Cup than the actions of individuals.[169][170]

Sponsorship

FIFA partners FIFA World Cup sponsors African and Middle Eastern supporters North American supporters South American supporters

Broadcasting rights

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Initially 21 November – 18 December.
  2. ^ The 2018 competition in Russia featured two Asian venues, according to various definitions of the geographical boundary between Asia and Europe: Yekaterinburg and Sochi.
  3. ^ Czechoslovakia failed to qualify for the 1978 FIFA World Cup after winning UEFA Euro 1976. Denmark failed to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup after winning UEFA Euro 1992. Greece failed to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup after winning UEFA Euro 2004.
  4. ^ UEFA Path A winners, team not determined at time of draw
  5. ^ CONCACAF v OFC winners, team not determined at time of draw
  6. ^ AFC v CONMEBOL winners, team not determined at time of draw
  7. ^ Ahmad bin Ali Stadium is in Al Rayyan but outside the area of the Doha area map.

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