Key questions answered as World Cup starts one-year countdown

Al Jazeera answers some key questions with Middle East’s first football World Cup just one year away.

So far, 13 teams have qualified for the World Cup, including host Qatar. [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Qatar 2022, the Middle East’s first football World Cup, is only 12 months away.

The opening match of the next World Cup, which was awarded to Qatar in 2010, will be played on November 18, 2022, at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al-Khor, located north of the capital Doha.

Al Jazeera answers some of the key questions related to the tournament and the host Qatar:

What are the tournament dates?

The tournament will kick off on November 21 next year with the final taking place on December 18, which is also Qatar’s national day.

Which teams have qualified for Qatar 2022?

So far, 13 teams have qualified for the World Cup, including hosts Qatar.


When will the tournament draw take place?

The draw for the main round will take place on April 1, 2022. It will be held in Qatar’s capital Doha and the 32 countries who qualify will be placed in eight groups.

How many stadiums are ready?

The 2022 World Cup will be played across eight stadiums.

Qatar has already inaugurated five stadiums while two more will host their first matches in the upcoming Arab Cup 2021 that kicks off on November 30.

Lusail Stadium, where the final will be played, will be the last venue to be inaugurated next year.

Lusail Stadium, where the final of Qatar 2022 will be played, will be the last venue to be inaugurated next year [File: Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

What issues did the World Cup face after it was awarded to Qatar?

Since being awarded hosting rights, Qatar has faced allegations of bribery and corruption in the bidding process.

Additionally, high temperatures during the summer months in Qatar meant the tournament dates were shifted to November and December which also forced leagues around the world to tweak their schedules.

Recently, concerns over lack of hotel accommodation have also surfaced for the influx of fans arriving for the tournament.

Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and its human rights record have also been under the spotlight since it was awarded the hosting of the tournament.

Will any team boycott the tournament?

Earlier this year, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Germany staged on-field protests against Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers.

However, there has been no threat of a boycott.

What is the current coronavirus situation in Qatar?

Qatar has reported more than 240,000 cases of the coronavirus, including 611 deaths, since the start of the pandemic.

However, strict health and safety measures, availability of vaccines and increased testing has ensured figures remained low.

Currently, the average number of daily reported cases are below 150.

Will fans need to be vaccinated against COVID to attend Qatar 2022?

Yes, Qatar will only allow fully vaccinated individuals to attend the World Cup.

What will the weather be like during the World Cup?

The average temperature range in November and December is 15C-24C (59F-79F).

Will alcohol be available?

Alcohol will be available at fan zones and hospitality locations during the tournament.

Further details on availability are expected to be released by the organisers in due course.

Source: Al Jazeera