The much anticipated FIFA World Cup 2022 is about to kickstart on 20th November in Qatar. A total of 32 countries are participating in the tournament, including Qatar. While this World Cup is already engulfed by controversies (which we will get into later in the article), it is also unique because of the many firsts we are getting to witness this time. Keep reading to find 6 firsts happening during this tournament.
1. First World Cup In The Middle East
Qatar is the first country from the Middle East to be hosting FIFA World Cup. Qatar won the World Cup bid in 2010, beating the US, South Korea, Japan & Australia.
2. First World Cup In The Winter
In order to avoid the extreme heat in Qatar during June and July & prioritize the player’s health, this time, the World Cup is taking place in the winter for the very first time.
3. Air Conditioned Stadiums
Although the weather would be pleasant during the tournament, the hosts have made sure that the fans have a comfortable viewing experience. Thus, in a first, all 8 stadiums in Qatar will be fully air-conditioned.
4. Russia Has Been Banned From The Tournament
FIFA banned Russia from the World Cup in February following its invasion of Ukraine. The country hosted the World Cup just four years ago but will not be able to participate this time around.
5. Qatar’s First Participation
Qatar automatically qualified for the World Cup as it won the bid to be the host of the tournament. However, interestingly, this will be Qatar’s first-ever participation in the FIFA World Cup.
6. No Free Flowing Alcohol
As consuming alcohol is illegal in Qatar and doing so can land you in jail for 6 months, the stadiums will be an alcohol-free zone during the tournament for the first time. However, reports claim that there will be fan zones set up across the country where drinking will be allowed.
Apart from the many firsts, this might be one of the most expensive World Cups yet. MSC Europa has launched a luxury cruise ship to host thousands and thousands of fans and will be used as a ‘floating hotel’ for fans to party and enjoy their stay.
Qatar & Its Many Controversies
Now that we have established that the hosts have left no stone unturned when it comes to spending millions and billions to make this World Cup worthwhile for fans and the participating teams, it is also no secret that the country has been wrapped in controversies as we are nearing the tournament. According to reports, around 6500 migrant workers, including those from Pakistan, India, Nepal Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, have lost their lives in the process of making world-class infrastructure for the World Cup.
Amnesty International is demanding FIFA set up a ‘remediation programme’ for the workers who were allegedly exploited and abused. It is being reported that the compensation in total is somewhat equivalent to the prize money which would be given to the players in the tournament.
In addition to this, Qatar’s stance on the LGBTQ movement has irked many in the West. The hosts have established that they are all for inclusivity and that people from any sexual orientation are welcome. However, public displays of affection will not be allowed.
This and the alleged exploitation of migrant workers have led to many celebrities boycotting the World Cup. Recently singer Dua Lipa refused to perform at the opening ceremony and maintained that she will visit the country when “it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made.”
What is your stance on the controversies surrounding the Qatar World Cup? Will you be watching?