Saturday marks the last day before Qatar host the FIFA World Cup 2022. The senstional 12-year journey of the small Arab nation’s dream to organise the biggest footballing event on earth will become true on Sunday when the host, Qatar will face Ecuador in the opening match.
All the 32 teams qualified for the final round have arrived in Qatar to compete for the top trophy. This would be the last time 32 teams would be lined up for the trophy since FIFA plans to increase the number of participants to 48 for the next edition.
The final game is on 18 December, also the national day of Qatar.
Only hours left for the kickoff, the controversies surrounding tournament has not settled down. FIFA chief Gianni Infantino slammed the high scrutiny by Western critics about Qatar, calling it “hypocrisy”.
Infantino assured earlier this month that this would be “the most inclusive and accessible World Cup to this day”.
The first World Cup in the Arab region has also given chance for the countries 87% migrants to be part of the spectacular event. Hundreds of migrants, including women and chldren, joined rallies to “welcome” the world to Qatar.
While European teams have won the last four edition of the tournament, South American teams, Brazil and Argentia are favourites during the 22 edition. This could be the last World Cup of Leonel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among other legendary figures in the game today.
Qatar is expecting more than a million fans to arrive in the country in the next four weeks. The wealthy nation have made incredible transformation preparing for World Cup, building a new Airport, sea port, and state of the art eight new stadium.
Qatar, Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States are the leading countries of residence for those purchasing match tickets, reports Al Jazeera.
Originally scheduled to take place during June and July, the tournament was moved to Qatar’s winter season due to the extreme heat during the summer.
The group phase of the touranment will be played from 20 November to 2 December. The knockout phase will run from 3-18 December.
Dozens of world famous artists are expected to perform in Qatar as part of the Fan Festival organised by FIFA. South Korea’s BTS said Jungkook, one of seven members of the boy band, would perform a track titled Dreamers at the ceremony. 90+ events and attractions are planned in eight destinations.
Qatar has put the Islamic country’s rich traditons and culture in the heart of the celebration offered to the world. The last minute ban on alcohol sale in stadiums have drawn mixed reaction from fans.
“Attitudes towards dressing in Qatar are relaxed, but visitors (men as well as women) are expected to show respect for the local culture by avoiding excessively revealing clothes in public. It is generally recommended for men and women to ensure their shoulders and knees are covered,” Qatar tourism website notes.
FIFA informed that during discussions with FIFA President, Qatar Minister of Labour Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri has explained the existing legal framework which includes a workers’ support and insurance fund.
“From my first day as FIFA President, I have been pleased to see the strong commitment from the Qatari authorities in ensuring the reforms are fully implemented across the labour market, leaving a lasting legacy of the FIFA World Cup long after the event, and benefiting migrant workers in the host country in the long term,” Infantino said.
This fund, which has existed since 2018, has provided over USD 350 million in compensation to workers in cases mainly dealing with late and non-payment of wages, FIFA reported.
FIFA also encouraged by ongoing discussions aimed at establishing a permanent International Labour Organization (ILO) office in Doha.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has announced that carbon savings from Qatar’s new 800 MW solar power plant will be used to offset approximately half the emissions generated from the country’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup.