Qatar makes World Cup debut in a controversial tournament of firsts


Doha, Qatar
CNN

There have been 21 editions of the Men’s World Cup since its inauguration in 1930, but Qatar 2022 will be a tournament like no other.

Since it was announced as the host city almost 12 years ago, it was always destined to be the first World Cup.

From extreme weather conditions to tournament debuts, CNN takes a look at the ways this year’s competition will break new ground.

This will be the first time that Qatar’s men’s national team will participate in the World Cup finals, having failed to qualify through the usual means in the past.

FIFA, the sport’s governing body, allows the host country to take part in the World Cup without going through the qualifying rounds, meaning the small Gulf state can now be tested against the best in world football.

Qatar is relatively new to the sport, having played its first official match in 1970, but the country has fallen in love with the beautiful game and the national team has steadily improved.

In 2004, the Aspire Academy was established with the hope of finding and developing all of Qatar’s most talented athletes.

In recent years, that has reaped rewards for its football team. Qatar won the 2019 Asian Cup, capping off one of the most impressive runs in the tournament’s history, conceding just one goal throughout the tournament.

Seventy percent of the team that won the trophy went through the academy, and that number only increased in the run-up to the World Cup.

Coached by Spaniard Felix Sanchez, Qatar will look to surprise people and face a relatively friendly group alongside Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands.

Qatar will try to prepare a surprise for Qatar 2022.

The World Cup has always been held in May, June or July, but Qatar 2022 will depart from that tradition – more out of necessity.

Temperatures in Qatar can reach over 40 degrees Celsius during those months, so with that in mind, the tournament was moved to colder weather.

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However, winter in Qatar is a relative term with temperatures still likely to hover around 30 degrees, but organizers are hoping to combat the heat with a number of methods, such as high-tech stadium cooling systems.

The change in tournament dates has caused chaos in some of the biggest domestic leagues in the world.

All of Europe’s top leagues have had to make a winter break in their schedules, meaning congested fixture lists before and after the tournament.

This will be the first World Cup to be played in November and December.

One of FIFA’s justifications for awarding Qatar the hosting rights was the possibility of taking the tournament to a new part of the world.

None of the 21 previous World Cups have been held in an Islamic country, and this month’s tournament will be an opportunity for the region to celebrate its growing love for the game.

However, this undoubtedly raises several issues that the organizers have had to deal with. For many fans, alcohol consumption is and will be a big part of the tournament experience.

However, in Qatar it is illegal to be seen drunk in public, forcing organizers to come up with inventive ways to get around the problem.

As a result, alcohol will only be served in designated fan parks around Doha and there will be separate areas for fans to sober up before and after matches.

Josh Cavallo attends the 2022 Attitude Awards at The Roundhouse on October 12, 2022 in London, England.

The world’s only openly gay active professional footballer is concerned about the LGBTQ community ahead of Qatar 2022.

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Another question mark surrounding the tournament is how the country will be able to cope with the expected influx of one million visitors, given that it is the smallest country hosting the World Cup, with just under three million inhabitants.

As a result, all eight stadiums are located in and around Doha, the capital, and are all within an hour’s drive.

Organizers say travel infrastructure – including buses, subways and car hire – will be able to cope with the increased pressure.

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One of the advantages of the small distances between the halls is that fans will be able to see up to two games in one day. Should traffic be polite.

Due to its size, Qatar also had to be smart with accommodation. Two cruise ships, MSC Poesia and MSC World Europa, docked in Doha to provide some support to the hotels.

Fans will have the opportunity to stay on cruise ships in Doha, Qatar.

Both ships will offer the usual cruise experience, but fans will sail no further than a 10-minute bus ride into the heart of Doha.

For those fans prone to seasickness, the organizers have also built three ‘Fan Villages’ that will offer accommodation on the outskirts of the city.

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The dilemma of migrant workers of the World Cup in Qatar

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This includes a variety of accommodation – including caravans, portacabins and even camping experiences – all within reasonable distance of the venue.

Also, for those who can afford a little more, there will be luxury yachts moored in Doha Harbor, which can offer a place to sleep for, let’s face it, an extortionate price.

FIFA has pledged to make Qatar 2022 the first carbon-neutral World Cup, while world football’s governing body continues to pledge to make the sport more environmentally friendly.

It, along with Qatar, has pledged to offset carbon emissions by investing in green projects and buying carbon credits – a common practice used by businesses to “offset” their carbon footprint.

Qatar, the world’s biggest per capita emitter of carbon dioxide, has said it will keep emissions low and remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as the tournament produces by investing in projects that will capture greenhouse gases.

For example, it will sow the seeds for the world’s largest turf farm by planting 679,000 shrubs and 16,000 trees.

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The plants will be installed in stadiums and elsewhere across the country and are expected to absorb thousands of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere each year.

However, critics have accused the organizers of “greenwashing” the event – a term used to call out those who try to cover up their damage to the environment and climate with green initiatives that are false, misleading or exaggerated.

Carbon Market Watch (CMW), a non-profit advocacy group specializing in carbon pricing, says Qatar’s calculations are grossly underestimated.

In Qatar 2022, female referees will also officiate a men’s World Cup match for the first time.

Yamashita Yoshimi, Salima Mukansanga and Stephanie Frappart were named among the 36 officials selected for the tournament.

They will be joined by Neuza Back, Karen Diaz Medina and the American Kathryn Nesbitt, who will travel to this Gulf country as assistants.

Frappart is probably the most famous name on the list after writing her name into the history books in 2020 by becoming the first woman to referee a men’s Champions League match.

Referee Yoshimi Yamashita will make his debut at the Men's World Cup.

But Rwanda’s Mukansanga wants to learn from her in Qatar, who told CNN she is excited to take on the challenge of officiating at a major tournament.

“I would watch what the referees do, just to copy what they do best, so that one day I can be like this at the World Cup,” she said, adding that her family can’t wait to see her perform on the field.

It has not yet been decided when the women will officiate their first match of the tournament, but there will be some new rules that will be enforced.

For the first time, teams will be able to use up to five substitutes, and managers can now choose from a squad of 26 players, instead of the usual 23.

Qatar 2022 is scheduled to begin on November 20. You can follow CNN’s coverage of the World Cup here.

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