There have been 21 editions of the men’s World Cup since its inauguration in 1930, but Qatar 2022 is set to be a tournament like no other.
Since it was announced as the host city almost 12 years ago, it was always destined to be a World Cup of firsts.
From extreme weather to tournament debuts, CNN looks at the ways this year’s competition will break new ground.
This will be the first time that the Qatari national men’s team will participate in a World Cup final, after failing to qualify through normal means in the past.
FIFA, the sport’s governing body, allows a host nation to take part in a World Cup without going through the qualifying rounds, meaning the tiny Gulf state can now test itself 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 founded in the hope of finding and developing all of Qatar’s most talented sportspeople.
In recent years, it has paid off for his football team. Qatar won the 2019 Asia Cup, capping off one of the most memorable runs in the tournament’s history, conceding just one goal throughout the tournament.
Seventy percent of the squad that won the trophy came through the academy, and that number only increased heading into the World Cup.
Qatar, coached by Spaniard Felix Sanchez, will want to surprise people and face a relatively friendly group, along with Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands.
The World Cup has always been held in May, June or July, but Qatar 2022 will break away from such tradition – more out of necessity.
Temperatures in Qatar can reach over 40 degrees Celsius during those months, so, with that in mind, the tournament has been moved to a cooler time.
However, winter in Qatar is a relative term with temperatures likely to still hover around 30 degrees, but organizers hope to combat the heat with various methods, such as high-tech cooling systems in stadiums.
The change in tournament dates has wreaked havoc with some of the biggest domestic leagues in the world.
All of Europe’s top leagues had to work a winter break into their schedules, meaning fixture lists were packed before and after the tournament.
One of FIFA’s justifications for awarding Qatar the hosting rights was the ability to take 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 a chance for the region to celebrate its growing love for the game.
However, this undoubtedly raises some issues that organizers have had to tackle. For many fans, drinking alcohol is and will be a big part of the experience of such tournaments.
However, in Qatar it is illegal to be seen drunk in public, forcing organizers to come up with inventive ways to get around the issue.
As a result, alcohol will only be served in designated fan parks around Doha and there will be separate areas where fans can sober up before and after matches.
World’s only openly gay active professional soccer player is concerned about LGBTQ community ahead of Qatar 2022
– Source: CNN
Another question mark surrounding the tournament is how the country will be able to handle the influx of an expected one million visitors, as it is the smallest country to host the World Cup, with a population of just under three million.
As a result, all eight stadiums are in and around Doha, the capital, and all within an hour’s drive of each other.
Organizers say the travel infrastructure – including buses, metro and car hire – will be able to cope with the increased pressure.
One advantage of the short distances between venues is that fans will be able to see up to two games in one day. Must be traffic friendly.
Because of its size, Qatar also had to be smart with its accommodations. Two cruise ships, MSC Poesia and MSC World Europa, are docked in Doha to provide some support to hotels.
Both cruises will offer the usual cruise ship experience, but fans will travel no further than the 10-minute shuttle bus ride into the heart of Doha.
For the fans prone to a touch of seasickness, organizers have also built three ‘Fan Villages’ which will provide a place to stay on the outskirts of the city.
This includes a variety of accommodation – including caravans, portacabins and even camping experiences – and all are located within reasonable distances of the venues.
Also, for those who can afford a little more, there will be luxury yachts moored in Doha’s harbor, which can offer accommodation for, let’s be honest, an exorbitant price.
FIFA has pledged to make Qatar 2022 the first carbon-neutral World Cup as world soccer’s governing body continues its 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 “cancel” the impact of a carbon footprint.
Qatar, the world’s largest 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 the greenhouse gases.
For example, it will sow the seeds for the largest peat farm in the world by planting 679,000 shrubs and 16,000 trees.
The plants will be installed at stadiums and elsewhere around the country and are supposed to absorb thousands of tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year.
However, critics have accused 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 either false, misleading or overstated.
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 all named among the 36 officials selected for the tournament.
They will be joined by Neuza Back, Karen Diaz Medina and American Kathryn Nesbitt, who will travel to the Gulf nation as assistants.
Frappart is probably the most famous name on the list after writing her name in the history books in 2020 by becoming the first woman to take charge of a men’s Champions League game.
But Rwanda’s Mukansanga wants to learn from her in Qatar, who told CNN she is excited to take on the challenge of umpiring at a major tournament.
“I will watch what the referees do, just to copy the best things they do, so that one day I will be like that in the World Cup,” she said, adding that her family can’t wait to see. her take on the field.
It has not yet been decided when the women will referee their first match at the tournament, but there will be new rules to apply.
For the first time, teams will be able to use up to five substitutes and managers can now choose from a pool of 26 players, rather than the usual 23.
Qatar 2022 starts on November 20. You can follow CNN’s coverage of the World Cup here.