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The 2022 FIFA World Cup (Arabic: 2022 كأس العالم لكرة القدم, romanized: Kaʾs al-ʿālam li-kurat al-qadam 2022) is scheduled to be the 22nd running of the FIFA World Cup competition, the quadrennial international men's football championship contested by the national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December 2022. This will be the first World Cup ever to be held in the Arab world, and it will be the second World Cup held entirely in Asia after the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.[a] In addition, the tournament will be the last to involve 32 teams, with an increase to 48 teams scheduled for the 2026 tournament in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The reigning World Cup champions are France. Due to Qatar's intense summer heat, this World Cup will be held from late-November to mid-December, making it the first tournament not to be held in May, June, or July; it is to be played in a reduced timeframe of around 28 days.
Accusations of corruption have been made relating to how Qatar won the right to host the event. A FIFA internal investigation and report cleared Qatar of any wrongdoing, but chief investigator Michael J. Garcia has since described FIFA's report on his enquiry as containing "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations." On 27 May 2015, Swiss federal prosecutors opened an investigation into corruption and money laundering related to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. On 6 August 2018, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter claimed that Qatar had used "black ops", suggesting that the bid committee had cheated to win the hosting rights. Additionally, Qatar has faced strong criticism due to the treatment of foreign workers involved in preparation for the World Cup, with Amnesty International referring to "forced labour" and stating that hundreds or thousands of migrant workers have died as a result of human rights abuses, and careless and inhumane work conditions, despite worker welfare standards being drafted in 2014.
Between 2015 and 2021, the Qatari government adopted new labour reforms to improve working conditions, including a minimum wage for all workers and the removal of the kafala system. Amnesty International referred to these measures as "a significant step towards protecting migrant workers".
The bidding procedure to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups began in January 2009, and national associations had until 2 February 2009 to register their interest. Initially, eleven bids were made for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but Mexico later withdrew from proceedings, and Indonesia's bid was rejected by FIFA in February 2010 after the Indonesian Football Association failed to submit a letter of Indonesian government guarantee to support the bid. Indonesian officials had not ruled out a bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, until Qatar took the 2022 cup. During the bidding process, all non-UEFA nations gradually withdrew their 2018 bids, thus guaranteeing that a UEFA nation would host the 2018 cup and thereby making UEFA nations ineligible for the 2022 bid.
In the end, there were five bids for the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, and the United States.
The twenty-two member FIFA Executive Committee convened in Zürich on 2 December 2010 to vote to select the hosts of both tournaments. Two FIFA executive committee members were suspended before the vote in relation to allegations of corruption regarding their votes. The decision to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which was graded as having "high operational risk", generated criticism from media commentators. It has been criticised by many as being part of the FIFA corruption scandals.
There have been allegations of bribery and corruption in the selection process involving FIFA's executive committee members. These allegations are being investigated by FIFA(see § Bidding corruption allegations, below).
Qatar is the smallest nation by area ever to have been awarded a FIFA World Cup – the next smallest by area is Switzerland, host of the 1954 FIFA World Cup, which is more than three times as large as Qatar and only needed to host 16 teams instead of the current 32.
On 12 April 2018, CONMEBOL requested that FIFA expand the 2022 FIFA World Cup from 32 to 48 teams, four years before the 2026 FIFA World Cup as initially planned.FIFA PresidentGianni Infantino expressed willingness to consider the request. However, the FIFA congress rejected the request shortly before the beginning of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Infantino said the global football governing body would not discuss the possibility of having a 48-team World Cup, and that they would first discuss the matter with the host country.
In March 2019, a "FIFA feasibility study" concluded that it was possible to expand the tournament to 48 teams, albeit with the assistance of "one or more" neighbouring countries and "two to four additional venues." FIFA also said that "while it cannot rule out legal action from losing bidders by changing the format [of the tournament], the study said it 'concluded that the risk was low'." FIFA and Qatar would have explored possible joint proposals to submit to the FIFA Council and the FIFA Congress later in June. Had a joint proposal been submitted, FIFA's member associations would have voted on the final decision at the 69th FIFA Congress in Paris, France by 5 June. However, on 22 May, FIFA announced it would not expand the tournament.
FIFA's six continental confederations organise their own qualifying competitions. All FIFA member associations, of which there are currently 211, are eligible to enter qualification. Qatar, as hosts, qualified automatically for the tournament. However, the AFC obliged Qatar to participate in the Asian qualifying stage as the first two rounds also act as qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. If the Qataris reach the final stage as winners in their group or as one of the four best runners-up, the fifth-best team will advance instead. The reigning World Cup championsFrance will also go through qualifying stages as normal.Saint Lucia initially entered qualification but withdrew from it before their first match. North Korea withdrew from the qualifying round due to safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The allocation of slots for each confederation was discussed by the FIFA Executive Committee on 30 May 2015 in Zürich after the FIFA Congress. The committee decided that the allocations in 2006, which remained unchanged for 2010, 2014, and 2018, would continue for the 2022 tournament:
A qualifying draw was scheduled to take place in July 2019; this was later cancelled to allow each confederation to hold their own draws for their individual qualifying tournaments. The first qualifying matches were played in June 2019 in the Asian qualifying tournament, with Mongolia defeating Brunei 2–0 on 6 June, in which Mongolian player Norjmoogiin Tsedenbal scored the first goal of qualifying.
On 9 December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency handed Russia a four-year ban from all major sporting events, after RUSADA was found non-compliant for handing over manipulating lab data to investigators. However, the Russia national team could still enter qualification, as the ban only applies to the final tournament to decide the world champions. If Russia were to qualify, Russian footballers could still potentially compete at the tournament, pending a decision from FIFA. However, a team representing Russia, which uses the Russian flag and anthem, cannot participate under the WADA decision. The decision was appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and on 17 December 2020, Russian teams were banned from competing at world championships organized or sanctioned by a WADA signatory until 16 December 2022.
Leading football clubs in Europe wanted the World Cup to take place from 28 April to 29 May rather than the typical June and July staging, due to concerns about the heat.
1Bold indicates champion for that year. Italic indicates host for that year.
2 Competed as West Germany. A separate team for East Germany also participated in qualifications during this time, having only competed in 1974.
The first five proposed venues for the World Cup were unveiled at the beginning of March 2010. The country intends for the stadiums to reflect the historical and cultural aspects of Qatar, and for the designs to meet the following terms of reference: "legacy", comfort, accessibility, and sustainability. The stadiums will be equipped with cooling systems that aim to reduce temperatures within the stadium by up to 20 °C (36 °F), but it is not yet known if this will actually work in the open-air stadiums. Their marketing includes statements describing the stadiums as Zero Waste, and the upper tiers of the stadiums will be disassembled after the World Cup and donated to countries with less developed sports infrastructure. Qatar aspires to be compliant and certified by the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) for all the world cup stadiums. All of the five stadium projects launched have been designed by German architect Albert Speer & Partners. The Al Bayt Stadium will be the only indoor stadium of the eight used.
A report released on 9 December 2010 quoted FIFA President Sepp Blatter as stating that other nations could host some matches during the World Cup. However, no specific countries were named in the report. Blatter added that any such decision must be taken by Qatar first and then endorsed by FIFA's executive committee.Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan told the Australian Associated Press that holding games in Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and possibly Saudi Arabia would help to incorporate the people of the region during the tournament.
According to a report released in April 2013 by Merrill Lynch, the investment banking division of Bank of America, the organisers in Qatar have requested FIFA to approve a smaller number of stadiums due to the growing costs.Bloomberg.com said that Qatar wishes to cut the number of venues to eight or nine from the twelve originally planned.
Although as of April 2017, FIFA had yet to finalise the number of stadiums Qatar must have ready in five years' time, Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said it expected there would be eight in and near Doha (with the exception of Al Khor).
In January 2019, Infantino said that FIFA was exploring the possibility of having neighbouring countries host matches during the tournament, in order to reduce political tensions.
The match schedule was confirmed by FIFA on 15 July 2020. The opening match, featuring the hosts Qatar, will be played on 21 November 2022, 13:00 local time (UTC+3), at the Al Bayt Stadium. During the group stage, four matches will be played each day, with kick-off times being 13:00, 16:00, 19:00, and 22:00 for the first two rounds, and 18:00 and 22:00 for the simultaneous kick-offs of the last round and for knockout stage matches. The third-place match will be played on 17 December 2022 at the Khalifa International Stadium, and the final will be played on 18 December 2022 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, both at 18:00.
Unlike previous tournaments where the match venues and kick-off times for each fixture are set prior to the draw, the assignment of group fixtures for each matchday to a specific venue and kick-off time will only be made after the group stage draw, which will be held after the March 2022 international match window, and the teams of each specific fixture are known. This is possibly due to the close proximity of the venues, which will allow the organizers to optimize stadium allocation for spectators and kick-off times for television audiences. The group stage matches for each group will be allocated to the following stadiums:
The selection of Qatar as the host country has been controversial; FIFA officials were accused of corruption and allowing Qatar to "buy" the World Cup, the treatment of construction workers was called into question by human rights groups, and the high costs needed to make the plans a reality were criticised. The climate conditions caused some to call hosting the tournament in Qatar infeasible, with initial plans for air-conditioned stadiums giving way to a potential date switch from summer to winter.
In May 2014, Sepp Blatter, who was FIFA president at the time of the selection but later banned for illegal payments, remarked that awarding the World Cup to Qatar was a "mistake" because of the extreme heat. However, while addressing delegates from African and Asian confederations, Blatter said allegations of corruption and some of the criticism, including those from sponsors, were "very much linked to racism and discrimination".
Migrant workers, slavery allegations and deaths
The issue of migrant workers' rights also attracted attention, with a 2013 investigation by The Guardian newspaper claiming that many workers were denied food and water, had their identity papers taken away from them, and that they were not paid on time or at all, making some of them in effect slaves. The Guardian estimated that, by the time the competition would be held, without reforms of the kafala system, out of the 2 million-strong migrant workforce up to 4,000 workers could die due to lax safety and other causes. These claims were based upon the fact that 522 Nepalese workers and over 700 Indian workers had died since 2010, when Qatar's bid as World Cup's host had been won, about 250 Indian workers dying each year. Given that there were half a million Indian workers in Qatar, the Indian government said that was quite a normal number of deaths.
In 2015, a crew of four journalists from the BBC were arrested and held for two days after they attempted to report on the condition of workers in the country. The reporters had been invited to visit the country as guests of the Government of Qatar.
The Wall Street Journal reported in June 2015 the International Trade Union Confederation's claim that over 1,200 workers had died while working on infrastructure and real-estate projects related to the World Cup, and the Qatar Government's counter-claim that none had. The BBC later reported that this often-cited figure of 1,200 workers having died in World Cup construction in Qatar between 2011 and 2013 is not correct, and that the 1,200 number is instead representing deaths from all Indians and Nepalese working in Qatar, not just of those workers involved in the preparation for the World Cup, and not just of construction workers. Most Qatari nationals avoid doing manual work or low-skilled jobs; additionally, they are given preference at the workplace.Michael van Praag, president of the Royal Dutch Football Association, requested the FIFA Executive Committee to pressure Qatar over those allegations to ensure better workers' conditions. He also stated that a new vote on the attribution of the World Cup to Qatar would have to take place if the corruption allegations were to be proved.
In March 2016, Amnesty International accused Qatar of using forced labour, forcing the employees to live in poor conditions, and withholding their wages and passports. It also accused FIFA of failing to stop the stadium from being built on "human right abuses." Migrant workers told Amnesty about verbal abuse and threats they received after complaining about not being paid for up to several months. Nepali workers were even denied leave to visit their family after the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
In October 2017, the International Trade Union Confederation said that Qatar had signed an agreement to improve the situation of more than 2 million migrant workers in the country. According to the ITUC, the agreement provided for establishing substantial reforms in labour system, including ending the Kafala system. The ITUC also stated that the agreement would positively affect the general situation of workers, especially those who work on the 2022 FIFA World Cup infrastructure projects. The workers will no longer need their employer's permission to leave the country or change their jobs.
In February 2019, Amnesty International questioned whether Qatar would complete the promised labour reforms before the start of the World Cup, a sentiment that FIFA backed. Amnesty International found that abuses were still occurring despite the nation taking some steps to improve labour rights.
In May 2019, an investigation by the UK's Daily Mirror newspaper discovered some of the 28,000 workers on the stadiums are being paid 750 Qatari Riyal per month, which is equivalent to £190 per month or 99 pence an hour for a typical 48-hour week.
Hendriks Graszoden, the turf supplier for the 2006 World Cup and for the European Championships in 2008 and 2016, refused to supply Qatar with World Cup turf. According to company spokesperson Gerdien Vloet, one reason for this decision was the accusations of human rights abuses.
In April 2020, the government of Qatar provided $824 million to pay the wages of migrant workers in quarantine or undergoing treatment for COVID-19.
In August 2020, the Qatari government announced a monthly minimum wage for all workers of 1,000 riyals (US$275), an increase from the previous temporary minimum wage of 750 riyals a month. The new laws went into effect in March 2021. The International Labour Organization said "Qatar is the first country in the region to introduce a non-discriminatory minimum wage, which is a part of a series of historical reforms of the country's labour laws," while the campaign group Migrant Rights said the new minimum wage was too low to meet migrant workers' need with Qatar's high cost of living. In addition, employers are obligated to pay 300 riyals for food and 500 riyals for accommodation, if they do not provide employees with these directly. The No Objection Certificate was removed so that employees can change jobs without consent of the current employer. A Minimum Wage Committee was also formed to check on the implementation. These reforms removed the kafala system and a contractual system was introduced.
Move to November and December
Owing to the climate in Qatar, concerns were expressed over holding the World Cup in its traditional timeframe of June and July. In October 2013, a task force was commissioned to consider alternative dates and report after the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. On 24 February 2015, the FIFA Task Force proposed that the tournament be played from late November to late December 2022, to avoid the summer heat between May and September and also avoid clashing with the 2022 Winter Olympics in February and Ramadan in April.
The notion of staging the tournament in November is controversial since it would interfere with the regular season schedules of some domestic leagues around the world. Commentators have noted the clash with the WesternChristmas season is likely to cause disruption, whilst there is concern about how short the tournament is intended to be.FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger said that awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar's desert state was a "blatant mistake".Frank Lowy, chairman of Football Federation Australia, said that if the 2022 World Cup were moved to November and thus upset the schedule of the A-League, they would seek compensation from FIFA.Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, stated that they would consider legal action against FIFA because a move would interfere with the Premier League's popular Christmas and New Year fixture programme. On 19 March 2015, FIFA sources confirmed that the 2022 World Cup final would be played on 18 December.
Qatar has faced growing pressure over its hosting of the World Cup in relation to allegations over the role of former top football official Mohammed bin Hammam played in securing the bid. A former employee of the Qatar bid team alleged[year needed] that several African officials were paid $1.5 million by Qatar. She retracted her claims, but later said that she was coerced to do so by Qatari bid officials. In March 2014, it was discovered that disgraced former CONCACAF president Jack Warner and his family were paid almost $2 million from a firm linked to Qatar's successful campaign. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating Warner and his alleged links to the Qatari bid.
Five of FIFA's six primary sponsors, Sony, Adidas, Visa, Hyundai, and Coca-Cola, have called upon FIFA to investigate the claims.The Sunday Times published bribery allegations based on a leak of millions of secret documents.Jim Boyce, Vice President of FIFA, has gone on record stating he would support a re-vote to find a new host if the corruption allegations are proven.FIFA completed a lengthy investigation into these allegations and a report cleared Qatar of any wrongdoing. Despite the claims, the Qataris insist that the corruption allegations are being driven by envy and mistrust while Sepp Blatter said it is fueled by racism in the British media.
In the 2015 FIFA corruption case, Swiss officials, operating under information from the United States Department of Justice, arrested many senior FIFA officials in Zurich, Switzerland. They also seized physical and electronic records from FIFA's main headquarters. The arrests continued in the United States, where several FIFA officers were arrested, and FIFA buildings were raided. The arrests were made on the information of at least a $150 million (USD) corruption and bribery scandal.
On 7 June 2015, Phaedra Almajid, the former media officer for the Qatar bid team, claimed that the allegations would result in Qatar not hosting the World Cup. In an interview published on the same day, Domenico Scala, the head of FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee, stated that "should there be evidence that the awards to Qatar and Russia came only because of bought votes, then the awards could be cancelled."
Qatar diplomatic crisis
On 5 June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region and supporting terrorist groups. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt, in a letter, asked FIFA to replace Qatar as World Cup Host, calling the country as a "base of terrorism". In October 2017, Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, deputy head of Dubai Police and General Security, wrote about the Qatar diplomatic crisis on Twitter in Arabic; saying "If the World Cup leaves Qatar, Qatar's crisis will be over … because the crisis is created to get away from it". According to media reports, the message appeared to imply that the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar was only enacted due to Qatar hosting the world's biggest football event. In reaction to media coverage of his tweet, Dhahi Khalfan tweeted; "I said Qatar is faking a crisis and claims it's besieged so it could get away from the burdens of building expensive sports facilities for the World Cup". UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said Dhahi Khalfan had been misunderstood in media coverage. In response, Gargash clarified that Qatar's hosting of World Cup 2022 "should include a repudiation of policies supporting extremism & terrorism."
^Wahl, Grant (18 February 2015), "Insider notes: Qatar set for winter World Cup, MLS CBA update, more", Planet Football, archived from the original on 19 February 2015, retrieved 19 February 2015, Multiple sources say it's a done deal that World Cup 2022 will take place in November and December of 2022 in Qatar. A FIFA task force will...make that recommendation, and the FIFA Executive Committee is set to make the decision final...next month.