The 2022 World Cup will be the first World Cup held in a Muslim-majority country. Qatar is a small, oil-rich country on the Arabian peninsula, and shares a small land border with Saudi Arabia. In other words, the World Cup hosting duties transferred from Russia, the largest country in the world by land area, to one of the smallest counties in the world.
This World Cup will also be the first scheduled outside May, June or July due to the extreme temperatures it reaches in Qatar during those months. It will still be hot, as Qatar averages 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit) during the winter months. The schedule will also be reduced to 28 days.
The field will include at least 32 teams, although FIFA is still debating expanding the field to 48. FIFA President Gianni Infantino said Qatar could ask them to stick with the 32-team format, reports SkySports.
Only one of the eight new venues Qatar planned for the tournament is had been built, while two more will open before the end of the year. The remaining five should be open by 2021. All of them will be centrally located around the capital Doha and will be air-conditioned, and will be connected by a brand new public transportation system.
Qatar was controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup in 2010. Since then, the country has been on a non-stop building project, turning a desert country into a modern metropolis for international visitors. The use of migrant workers to build these venues have come under scrutiny, notes The New York Times.
An annual audit released in February found that some people worked over 72 hours a week. One contractor had workers at construction sites for over 124 straight days. Nearly 2 million foreign workers are in Qatar today.
The Qatari government has done better in recent months. The United Nation's International Labour Organization filed a complaint about the lack of workers' protections in 2014, but the complaint was dropped in November 2017.
Questions were also raised in 2010 about how Qatar was awarded the tournament in the first place. There were allegations of corruption behind the scenes to pull off the surprise, especially since more prepared countries like the U.S., South Korea, Japan and Australia made bids.
FIFA later cleared the Qatari bid of wrongdoing in 2014, but Michael Garcia, who led the inquiry, criticized FIFA's report, saying it "contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations."
After 2022, the 2026 World Cup will be hosted by Canada, Mexico and the U.S., marking the first multi-country World Cup since the 2002 South Korea/Japan tournament. There will be 48 teams, with 60 matches in the U.S. and 20 each in Canada and Mexico.
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