The World Cup in Qatar is little over 100 days away and regardless of the rights and wrongs of the tournament being hosted in the Gulf country, the excitement levels for a feast of football are growing.
Betting blogs are beginning to profile World Cup matches, recording artists are busy penning what they hope will become their nation’s new anthem and excited football fans are trawling comparison websites to find cheap accommodation and travel.
If you’re one of the lucky fans to be heading out for this year’s World Cup, read on to find out everything you need to know about travelling to Qatar this autumn.
When Is It?
This year’s World Cup starts on Monday, November 21st with Senegal taking on the Netherlands in Group A followed by the host country Qatar’s opener against Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium.
The last games of the Group Stage will be played on Friday, December 2nd with Serbia playing Switzerland and Cameroon taking on Brazil. The Round of 16 stage starts the following day with the final taking place at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Sunday, December 18th.
Despite only having a population of 1.7 million, Qatar is now home to eight World Cup standard stadiums including a fully-dismantlable venue made out of shipping containers. Here is a complete breakdown of all eight tournament stadiums:
– Lusail Stadium – 80,000 capacity – 10 miles from Doha
– Al Janoub Stadium – 40,000 capacity – 14 miles from Doha
– Al Bayt Stadium: 60,000 capacity – 27 miles from Doha
– Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium – 40,000 capacity – 14 miles from Doha
– Education City Stadium – 40,000 capacity – 7 miles from Doha
– Al Thumama Stadium – 40,000 capacity – 8 miles from Doha
– Stadium 974 – 40,000 capacity – 6 miles from Doha
– Khalifa International Stadium – 45,416 capacity – 8 miles from Doha
(Take a look at all 8 of the host stadiums for the Qatar World Cup.)
There is no escaping the fact that Qatar isn’t really the ideal venue for a tournament of this scale. The size of the country itself has raised a number of problems for tournament organisers, chief of which is accommodation.
There just aren’t enough hotels to handle the sheer number of fans travelling to the country for the tournament, which means you may have to rethink your expectations. In order to combat that, the tournament’s organisers have come up with two novel solutions…
The MSC Poesia and the MSC World Europa will be permanently moored at Doha’s Grand Terminal, a 10 minute shuttle away from the city centre. Cabins on these ships are -at the time of writing –available from £150 a night, but as demand ramps up closer to the time those prices will rise.
Your alternative is to stay in one of the fan villages. Supposedly inspired by the Bedouin style desert camps once found in this area, these villages are made up of hundreds of cabins that can be rented from around £170 a night.
It’s unclear as to how organisers will ensure that rival fans are kept away from one another and whether or not there will be provisions made for security.
Be aware that booking accommodation for this tournament will be different than previous ones. Whilst there are one or two ways in which you can shop around for your own accommodation, the main platform for bookings will be Qatar’s World Cup Accommodation Agency Website.
(The fan villages are one of the few remaining accommodation options for fans travelling to the 2022 World Cup.)
Every fan travelling to the World Cup in Qatar will need to apply for a Hayya Card which is a form of Fan ID. This card will be needed to enter the country and to attend any World Cup games.
Currently application for Hayya Cards are only available to individuals with valid match tickets. To find out the full criteria and details of the application process visit the official Hayya Terms section of the Qatari World Cup website.
Laws And Customs
Some of the laws and customs in Qatar differ greatly from those that we are used to here in the UK. There are serious penalties for causing offence at religious areas and homosexuality is illegal in the country, despite the hosts claiming that the tournament is ‘open to anyone’.
There is also a zero tolerance policy towards drugs and the importation of alcohol is illegal, as is unauthorised drinking in public areas. The punishments for offences relating to drugs and alcohol are severe and often include lengthy custodial sentences.
In short, avoid drugs and alcohol at all costs during the tournament and read up on local laws and customs before travelling so as not to offend.
If you need more advice about the laws and customs of Qatar, check the UK government Travel Advice page.