The 2022 FIFA World Cup is an international association football tournament contested by the men's national teams of FIFA's member associations. The 22nd FIFA World Cup, it is taking place in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December 2022. This is the first World Cup to be held in the Arab world, and the second held entirely in Asia after the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.[A] France are the defending champions, having defeated Croatia 4–2 in the 2018 final. At an estimated cost of over $220 billion, it is the most expensive World Cup ever held; this figure is disputed by Qatari officials, including organizing CEO Nasser Al Khater, who said the true cost is $8 billion, and other figures relate to overall infrastructure development since the World Cup was awarded to Qatar in 2010.
|كأس العالم لكرة القدم 2022|
Kaʾs al-ʿālam li-kurat al-qadam 2022
|Dates||20 November – 18 December|
|Teams||32 (from 5 confederations)|
|Venue(s)||8 (in 5 host cities)|
|Goals scored||90 (2.5 per match)|
|Attendance||1,829,231 (50,812 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)|| Enner Valencia|
(3 goals each)
This tournament is set to be the last with 32 participating teams, with the field to increase to 48 teams for the 2026 edition. To avoid the extremes of Qatar's hot climate,[B] this World Cup is being held during November and December.[C] It is being played in a reduced timeframe of 29 days with 64 matches to be played in eight venues across five cities. 31 teams qualified for participation, excluding Qatar, who appeared at their first World Cup: they became the first host to lose their opening game, set the record for the earliest a host was eliminated, and are the second host (after South Africa in 2010) not to progress past the first stage.
In the first round of the tournament finals, the teams competed in eight round-robin groups of four teams for points, with the top two teams in each group proceeding. These 16 teams advanced to the knockout stage, where three rounds of play decided which teams would participate in the final, which will be held on 18 December 2022 at Lusail Stadium, coinciding with Qatar's National Day.
The choice to host the World Cup in Qatar has been the source of controversy. Criticism focused on Qatar's human-rights record, namely their treatment of migrant workers, women, and position on LGBT rights, leading to boycotts and allegations of sportswashing. Others cited Qatar's climate, lack of a strong football culture, and allegations of bribery for hosting rights and wider FIFA corruption. Others commented Qatar’s human rights positions have received selected, hightened criticism compared to other countries who have hosted similar events (such as Russia, China, and the United States), deeming the controversy to be hypocritical, and noting Qatar's conservative attitudes as common in Muslim-majority countries; incumbent FIFA president Gianni Infantino defended the hosting. The controversies were described as a cultural conflict between Islamic countries and secular Western democracies.
The FIFA World Cup is a professional association football tournament held between national football teams. Organised by FIFA, the tournament, held every four years, was first played in 1930 in Uruguay, and has been contested by 32 teams since the 1998 event. The tournament is contested with eight round-robin groups followed by a knockout round for 16 teams. The defending champions are the French national football team, who defeated the Croatia national football team 4–2 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final. The event is scheduled to take place under a reduced length, from 20 November to 18 December in Qatar. Being held in Qatar, it is the first World Cup tournament to be held in the Arab world. Spectators were not required to follow most COVID-19 pandemic restrictions such as social distancing, wearing masks, and negative tests.
Unlike previous FIFA World Cups, which are typically played in June and July, because of Qatar's intense summer heat and often fairly high humidity, the 2022 World Cup is being played in November and December. As a result, the World Cup is unusually staged in the middle of the seasons of domestic football leagues, which start in late July or August, including all of the major European leagues, which have been obliged to incorporate extended breaks into their domestic schedules to accommodate the World Cup. Major European competitions have scheduled their respective competitions group matches to be played before the World Cup, to avoid playing group matches the following year.
The match schedule was confirmed by FIFA in July 2020. The group stage was set to begin on 21 November, with four matches every day. Later, the schedule was tweaked by moving the Qatar vs Ecuador game to 20 November, after Qatar successfully lobbied FIFA to allow their team to open the tournament. The final will be played on 18 December 2022, National Day, at Lusail Iconic Stadium.
The matches for each group were allocated to the following stadiums:
- Groups A, B, E, F: Al Bayt Stadium, Khalifa International Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
- Groups C, D, G, H: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Stadium 974, Education City Stadium, Al Janoub Stadium
FIFA confirmed the group stage venue and kick-off times on 1 April 2022, following the draw. On 11 August, it was confirmed that Qatar vs Ecuador had been brought forward one day, now becoming the tournament's opening match, while Senegal vs Netherlands, which would have opened the tournament under the original schedule, had been reallocated to the freed-up timeslot.
In April 2022, FIFA announced the prizes for all participating nations. Each qualified team will receive $1.5 million before the competition to cover preparation costs with each team receiving at least $9 million in prize money. This edition's total prize pool will be $440 million, $40 million greater than the prize pool of the previous tournament.
|Place||Amount (in millions)|
|5th–8th place (quarter-finals)||$17||$68|
|9th–16th place (Round of 16)||$13||$104|
|17th–32nd place (Group stage)||$9||$144|
The tournament will feature new substitution rules whereby teams may make up to five substitutions in normal time, and an additional substitution in extra time. In addition, it will be the first World Cup to feature concussion substitutions, whereby each team is permitted to use a maximum of one concussion substitute during a match. A concussion substitution does not count towards a team's quota of regular substitutions. Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand became the first concussion substitute in World Cup history, being taken off in his country's opening match against England.
The bidding procedure to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups began in January 2009. National associations had until 2 February 2009 to register interest. Initially, 11 bids were made for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but Mexico 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 was awarded the 2022 tournament.
After UEFA were guaranteed to host the 2018 event, members of UEFA were no longer in contention to host in 2022. There were five bids remaining for the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, and the United States. The 22-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.
The voting patterns were as follows:
|Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4|
Host selection criticism
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 . In May 2011, allegations of corruption within the FIFA senior officials raised questions over the legitimacy of the World Cup 2022 being held in Qatar. The 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 violation, but chief investigator Michael J. Garcia has since described FIFA's report on his enquiry as containing "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations."
In May 2015, Swiss federal prosecutors opened an investigation into corruption and money laundering related to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. In 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. Some investigations found that Qatar sought an edge in securing hosting by hiring a former CIA officer turned private contractor, Kevin Chalker, to spy on rival bid teams and key football officials who picked the winner in 2010.
In September 2018, a delegation from al-Ghufran tribe lodged a complaint to FIFA's president to reject the establishment of the World Cup in Qatar unless its government restored the Qatari nationality to all those affected from the tribe and returned land allegedly stolen from them to build the sport facilities.
Qatar has faced strong criticism for the treatment of foreign workers involved in preparation for the World Cup, with Amnesty International referring to "forced labour" and poor working conditions, while many migrant workers reported having to pay large "recruitment fees" to obtain employment. The Guardian newspaper reported that many workers are denied food and water, have their identity papers taken away from them, and that they are not paid on time or at all, making some of them in effect slaves. The Guardian has estimated that up to 4,000 workers may die from lax safety and other causes by the time the competition is held. 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. According to Amnesty International, however, living and working conditions of the foreign workers have not improved in the last years.
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 World Cup, which is more than three times as large as Qatar and only needed to host 16 teams instead of 32. Qatar also became only the second country (not including Uruguay and Italy, hosts of the first two World Cups) to be awarded a FIFA World Cup despite having never qualified for a previous edition: Japan was awarded co-hosting rights of the 2002 World Cup in 1996 without ever having qualified for the finals, although they qualified for the 1998 edition. Of the eight stadiums used in the tournament, six are located in the Doha metropolitan area, making it the first World Cup since 1930 in which most of the stadiums were in one city. While this decreased the distance that fans and players needed to commute, Qatar itself is struggling to accommodate the numbers of arriving fans with its diminutive amount of space.
Due to Qatar's laws on alcohol consumption, World Cup organisers have announced the creation of designated "sobering up" zones as an alternative to wide-scale arrests of intoxicated fans during the World Cup. Qatar's World Cup chief executive of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Nasser Al Khater, stated that the purpose of the designated sobering-up areas was to ensure the fans' safety. If a fan is sent to the "sobering up" zone, they will be permitted to leave when they can display clearheaded behavior. Multiple news agencies described the controversy as a "cultural clash" between social conservatism and Islamic morality against the "norms" of secular Western liberal democracies.
FIFA's six continental confederations organised their own qualifying competitions. All 211 FIFA member associations were eligible to enter qualification. The Qatari national team, as hosts, qualified automatically for the tournament. However, the Asian Football Confederation (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. Since Qatar reached the final stage as winners in their group, Lebanon, the fifth-best second place team, advanced instead. France, the reigning World Cup champions also went through qualifying stages as normal.
Saint Lucia initially entered CONCACAF qualification but withdrew from it before their first match. North Korea withdrew from the AFC qualifying round due to safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both American Samoa and Samoa withdrew before the OFC qualification draw. Tonga withdrew after the 2022 Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai eruption and tsunami. Due to COVID-19 outbreaks in their squads, Vanuatu and Cook Islands also withdrew because of the travel restrictions.
Of the 32 nations qualified to play at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, 24 countries competed at the previous tournament in 2018. Qatar are the only team making their debut in the FIFA World Cup, becoming the first hosts to make their tournament debut since Italy in 1934. As a result, the 2022 tournament is the first World Cup in which none of the teams that earned a spot through qualification were making their debut. The Netherlands, Ecuador, Ghana, Cameroon and the United States returned to the tournament after missing the 2018 tournament. Canada returned after 36 years, their only prior appearance being in 1986. Wales made their first appearance in 64 years – a record gap for a European team, their only previous participation having been in 1958.
Italy, the four-time winners and reigning European champions, failed to qualify for a second successive World Cup for the first time in their history, losing in the qualification play-off semi-finals. The Italians were the only former champions that failed to qualify, and the highest ranked team in the FIFA World Rankings to do so. Italy are also the fourth team to have failed to qualify for the upcoming World Cup having won the previous UEFA European Championship, after Czechoslovakia in 1978, Denmark in 1994 and Greece in 2006. The previous World Cup hosts, Russia, were disqualified from competing due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Chile, the 2015 and 2016 Copa América winners, failed to qualify for the second consecutive time. Nigeria were defeated by Ghana on away goals in Confederation of African Football (CAF) final playoff round, having qualified for the previous three World Cups and six out of the last seven. Egypt, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Iceland and Sweden, all of whom qualified for the 2018 World Cup, did not qualify for the 2022 tournament. Ghana were the lowest ranked team to qualify, ranked 61st.
The final draw was held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Doha, Qatar, on 1 April 2022, 19:00 AST, prior to the completion of qualification. The two winners of the inter-confederation play-offs and the winner of the Path A of the UEFA play-offs were not known at the time of the draw. The draw was attended by 2,000 guests and was led by Carli Lloyd, Jermaine Jenas and Samantha Johnson, assisted by the likes of Cafu (Brazil), Lothar Matthäus (Germany), Adel Ahmed Malalla (Qatar), Ali Daei (Iran), Bora Milutinović (Serbia/Mexico), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Rabah Madjer (Algeria) and Tim Cahill (Australia).
For the draw, the 32 teams were allocated into four pots based on the FIFA Men's World Rankings of 31 March 2022. Pot one contained the hosts Qatar (who were automatically assigned to position A1) and the best seven teams. Pot two contained the next best eight teams, with the next best eight teams into pot 3. Pot 4 contained the five lowest-ranked teams, along with the placeholders for the two inter-confederation play-off winners and the UEFA Path A play-off winner. Teams from the same confederation could not be drawn into the same group except for UEFA teams, for which there was at least one and no more than two per group.
This principle also applied to the placeholder teams, with constraints applying based on the confederation of both potential winners of each play-off tie. The draw started with pot 1 and ended with pot 4, with each team selected then allocated into the first available group alphabetically. The position for the team within the group would then be drawn (for the purpose of the match schedule), with the pot 1 teams automatically drawn into position 1 of each group. The pots for the draw are shown below.
|Pot 1||Pot 2||Pot 3||Pot 4|
Before submitting their final squad for the tournament, teams name a provisional squad of up to 55 players. Teams were required to have their 55-player roster submitted to FIFA by 21 October. Teams were required to name their final squads by 13 November. In August 2022, FIFA increased the final squad size to 26 players from a total of 23 players at the 2018 edition. All teams have a total of 26 players in their final squads except for Iran and France, who decided not to replace Karim Benzema after he sustained an injury.
In May 2022, FIFA announced the list of 36 referees, 69 assistant referees and 24 video assistant referees for the tournament. Of the 36 referees, FIFA included two each from Argentina, Brazil, England and France. For the first time women referees will referee games at a major men's tournament.
Stéphanie Frappart from France, Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan became the first female referees to be appointed to a men's World Cup. They will be joined by three female assistant referees, Neuza Back, Kathryn Nesbitt and Karen Díaz Medina, also for the first time. Frappart oversaw the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup final. Gambian referee Bakary Gassama and Argentine assistant referee Juan Pablo Belatti are among the officials to serve at their third World Cup. Belatti was an assistant referee in the 2018 final. Other returning officials include referees César Ramos of Mexico and Janny Sikazwe of Zambia, and Iranian assistant referee Mohammadreza Mansouri.
Stéphanie Frappart will become the first female referee to officiate a men's World Cup match, as she is scheduled to officiate the Group E match between Germany and Costa Rica on 1 December 2022.
The first five proposed venues for the World Cup were unveiled at the beginning of March 2010. Qatar intends that the stadiums reflect its history and culture, 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 and Al Wakrah stadiums will be the only indoor stadiums of the eight used.
In an April 2013 report by Merrill Lynch, the organisers in Qatar requested that FIFA to approve a smaller number of stadiums due to the growing costs. Bloomberg said that Qatar wished to cut the number of venues to eight or nine from the twelve originally planned. By April 2017, FIFA had yet to finalise the number of stadiums Qatar must have readied in five years' time. Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) said it expected there would be eight in and near Doha, with the exception of Al Khor.
The most used stadium will be the Lusail Iconic Stadium, which will host 10 matches, including the final. The Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor will host nine matches. All but the nine matches hosted in Al Khor in this tournament will be held within a 20 miles (32 km) radius of the centre of Doha.
Stadium 974, formerly known as Ras Abu Aboud, is the seventh FIFA World Cup 2022 venue to be completed by the SC. Its name comes from the number of shipping containers used in its construction and Qatar's international dialling code. The stadium will host seven matches during the event, and the venue will be dismantled completely after the tournament- this stadium is the first temporary stadium ever used for a FIFA World Cup. All of the other stadiums used except Khalifa International will be reduced in capacity by half.
|Lusail Iconic Stadium||Al Bayt Stadium||Al Thumama Stadium||Stadium 974|
|Capacity: 88,966||Capacity: 68,895||Capacity: 44,400||Capacity: 44,089|
|Host cities in Qatar||Stadiums in Doha area|
|Al Rayyan||Al Wakrah|
|Khalifa International Stadium||Ahmad bin Ali Stadium[G]
(Al Rayyan Stadium)
|Education City Stadium||Al Janoub Stadium|
|Capacity: 45,857||Capacity: 45,032
||Capacity: 44,667||Capacity: 44,325|
Team base camps
Base camps will be used by the 32 national squads to stay and train before and during the World Cup tournament. In July 2022, FIFA announced the hotels and training sites for each participating team. This World Cup is the most compact since the inaugural edition in 1930, with 24 of the 32 teams being within a 10 km radius of each other, and are concentrated within the Doha area. It is the first Cup since 1930 in which players did not need to take flights to matches and could remain at the same training base throughout the entire tournament.
|Argentina||Qatar University Hostel 1||Qatar University Training Site 3|
|Australia||New Aspire Academy Athlete Accommodation||Aspire Zone Training Facilities 5|
|Belgium||Hilton Salwa Beach Resort and Villas||Salwa Training Site|
|Brazil||The Westin Doha Hotel and Spa||Al Arabi SC Stadium|
|Cameroon||Banyan Tree Doha At La Cigale Mushaireb||Al Sailiya SC Stadium|
|Canada||Century Marina Hotel Lusail||Umm Salal SC Training Facilities|
|Costa Rica||dusitD2 Salwa Doha||Al Ahli SC Stadium|
|Croatia||Hilton Doha||Al Ersal Training Site 3|
|Denmark||Retaj Salwa Resort & SPA||Al Sailiya SC 2|
|Ecuador||Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha||Mesaimeer SC Training Facilities|
|England||Souq Al Wakra Hotel Qatar by Tivoli||Al Wakrah SC Stadium|
|France||Al Messila – A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Doha||Al Sadd SC Stadium|
|Germany||Zulal Wellness Resort||Al Shamal SC Stadium|
|Ghana||DoubleTree by Hilton Doha – Al Sadd||Aspire Zone Training Facilities 1|
|Iran||Al Rayyan Hotel Doha Curio Collection by Hilton||Al Rayyan SC Training Facilities 1|
|Japan||Radisson Blu Hotel Doha||Al Sadd SC New Training Facilities 1|
|Mexico||Simaisma, A Murwab Resort||Al Khor SC Stadium|
|Morocco||Wyndham Doha West Bay||Al Duhail SC Stadium|
|Netherlands||The St. Regis Doha||Qatar University Training Site 6|
|Poland||Ezdan Palace Hotel||Al Kharaitiyat SC Training Facilities|
|Portugal||Al Samriya Autograph Collection Hotel||Al Shahaniya SC Training Facilities|
|Qatar||Al Aziziyah Boutique Hotel||Aspire Zone Training Facilities 3|
|Saudi Arabia||Sealine Beach, a Murwab Resort||Sealine Training Site|
|Senegal||Duhail Handball Sports Hall||Al Duhail SC 2|
|Serbia||Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha||Al Arabi SC Training Facilities|
|South Korea||Le Méridien City Center Doha||Al Egla Training Site 5|
|Spain||Qatar University Hostel 2||Qatar University Training Site 1|
|Switzerland||Le Royal Méridien, Doha||University of Doha for Science and Technology Training Facilities|
|Tunisia||Wyndham Grand Doha West Bay Beach||Al Egla Training Sites 3|
|United States||Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl – Doha||Al Gharafa SC Stadium|
|Uruguay||Pullman Doha West Bay||Al Ersal Training Site 1|
|Wales||Delta Hotels City Center Doha||Al Sadd SC New Training Facilities 2|
The opening ceremony took place on Sunday, 20 November 2022 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, prior to the opening match of the tournament between hosts Qatar and Ecuador. It included appearances by Morgan Freeman and Ghanim Al-Muftah, along with performances by South Korean singer and BTS member Jungkook and Qatari singer Fahad Al Kubaisi. It was the first time that the Qur'an had been recited as part of the opening ceremony.
Group stage matches
The first match of the tournament was held between Qatar and Ecuador in Group A. Ecuador had a disallowed goal in the opening minutes, but eventually won 2–0 with two goals from Enner Valencia. In losing the game, Qatar became the first host nation to lose their opening match at a World Cup. Many Qatar natives were seen leaving the game before the end, with ESPN reporting that two-thirds of the attendance had left.  The other starting match in group A was won by the Netherlands 2–0 over Senegal. Cody Gakpo scored the opening goal in the 84th minute and Davy Klaassen added a second in stoppage time. Senegal faced Qatar in the third match of the group; Boulaye Dia capitalised on a slip by Boualem Khoukhi to put Senegal 1–0 ahead. Famara Diedhiou scored a second with a header, before Mohammed Muntari scored Qatar's first-ever goal at a World Cup to reduce the deficit back to one. Senegal eventually won the match 3–1 after an 84th-minute goal by Bamba Dieng. With this result, Qatar became the first team be eliminated from the tournament, as well as becoming the first host nation to ever be knocked out of the tournament after two games. Gakpo scored his second goal of the tournament as the Netherlands led Ecuador; however, Valencia scored an equaliser in the 49th minute. The Netherlands won 2–0 against Qatar following goals by Gakpo and Frenkie de Jong to win the group, while Qatar were the first home nation to lose all three group matches. Senegal faced Ecuador to determine the second knockout round qualifier. At the end of the first half, Ismaila Sarr scored a penalty kick to put Senegal ahead. In the 67th minute, Moisés Caicedo scored an equaliser, but shortly after Kalidou Koulibaly gave Senegal the victory. The win was enough to qualify Senegal as the runners-up of Group A.
In Group B, England completed a 6–2 victory over Iran. Iranian keeper Alireza Beiranvand was removed from the game for a suspected concussion before England scored three first-half goals. Mehdi Taremi scored in the second half after which England defender Harry Maguire was also removed for a concussion. Timothy Weah, of the United States, scored a first-half goal against Wales; however, the match finished as a draw after a penalty kick was won and scored by Gareth Bale. Iran defeated Wales 2–0 following a red card to Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey after he committed a foul outside of his penalty area. Substitute Rouzbeh Cheshmi scored the first goal eight minutes into stoppage time, followed by Ramin Rezaeian scoring three minutes later. England and the United States played to a 0–0 draw, with only four shots on target between them. England won the group following a 3–0 win over Wales with goals by Phil Foden and two by Rashford. The United States defeated Iran 1–0 as Christian Pulisic scored the winning goal to qualify for the round of 16.
In Group C, Argentina took an early lead against Saudi Arabia after Lionel Messi scored a penalty kick after ten minutes; however, second-half goals by Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari won the match 2–1 for Saudi Arabia, a result described as a "shock." The match between Mexico and Poland ended as a goalless 0–0 draw after Guillermo Ochoa saved Robert Lewandowski's penalty kick attempt. Lewandowski scored his first career World Cup goal in a 2–0 win over Saudi Arabia four days later. Argentina defeated Mexico 2–0, with team captain Messi scoring the opener and teammate Enzo Fernández scoring his first international goal.
The match between Denmark and Tunisia in Group D ended as a goalless draw; both teams had goals disallowed by offside calls. Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen made his first major international appearance since suffering a cardiac arrest at the UEFA Euro 2020. Defending champions France went a goal behind to Australia, after a Craig Goodwin goal within ten minutes. France, however, scored four goals, by Adrien Rabiot, by Kylian Mbappé, and two by Olivier Giroud to win 4–1. The goals tied Giroud with Thierry Henry as France's all-time top goalscorer. Mitchell Duke scored the only goal as Australia won against Tunisia. This was their first World Cup win since 2010. Mbappé scored a brace as France defeated Denmark 2–1. This was enough for France to qualify for the knockout round – the first time since Brazil in 2006 that the defending champions progressed through the opening round.
Group E began with Japan facing 2014 champions Germany. After an early penalty kick was converted by Germany's İlkay Gündoğan, Japan scored two second-half goals by Ritsu Dōan and Takuma Asano in a 2–1 upset win. In the second group match, Spain defeated Costa Rica 7–0. First-half goals by Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, and Ferran Torres were followed by goals by Gavi, Carlos Soler, Alvaro Morata and a second by Torres. This was the largest defeat in a World Cup since Portugal's victory over North Korea in the 2010 event by the same scoreline. Costa Rica defeated Japan 1–0, with Keysher Fuller scoring with Costa Rica's first shot on target of the tournament. Germany and Spain drew 1–1, with Álvaro Morata scoring for Spain and Niclas Füllkrug scoring for Germany.
Group F's first match was a goalless draw between Morocco and Croatia. Canada had a penalty kick in the first half of their match against Belgium which was saved by Thibaut Courtois. Belgium won the match by a single goal by Michy Batshuayi. Belgium manager Roberto Martinez confirmed after the game that he believed Canada to have been the better team. Belgium lost 2–0 to Morocco, despite Morocco having a long-range direct free kick goal by Hakim Ziyech overturned for an offside on another player in the lead up to the goal. Two second-half goals from Zakaria Aboukhlal and Romain Saïss helped the Morocco win their first World Cup match since 1998. The match sparked riots in Belgium, with residents fires and fireworks being set off. Alphonso Davies scored Canada's first World Cup goal to give Canada the lead over Croatia. Goals by Marko Livaja, Lovro Majer and two by Andrej Kramaric for Croatia completed a 4–1 victory.
Breel Embolo scored the only goal in the opening match of Group G as Switzerland defeated Cameroon 1–0. Richarlison scored two goals as Brazil won against Serbia, with star player Neymar receiving an ankle injury. Cameroon's Jean-Charles Castelletto scored the opening goal against Serbia, but they were quickly behind as Serbia scored three goals by Strahinja Pavlović, Sergej Milinković-Savić and Aleksandar Mitrović either side of half time. Cameroon, however, scored goals through Vincent Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting completed a 3–3 draw. An 83rd minute winner by Casemiro for Brazil over Switzerland was enough for them to qualify for the knockout stage.
In Group H, Uruguay and South Korea played to a goalless draw. A goalless first half between Portugal and Ghana preceded a penalty converted by Cristiano Ronaldo to give Portugal the lead. In scoring the goal, Ronaldo became the first man to score in five World Cups. Ghana responded with a goal by André Ayew before goals by João Félix, and Rafael Leão by Portugal put them 3–1 ahead. Osman Bukari scored in the 89th minute to trail by a single goal, while Iñaki Williams had a chance to equalise for Ghana ten minutes into stoppage time, but slipped before shooting. The match finished 3–2 to Portugal. Ghanaian Mohammed Salisu opened the scoring against South Korea, with Mohammed Kudus following it up. In the second half, Cho Gue-sung scored a brace for South Korea, leveling the score. Mohammed Kudus scored again in the 68th minute, winning the match 3–2 for Ghana. Portugal defeated Uruguay 2–0 with two goals from Bruno Fernandes, advancing them to the knockout stage. A controversial penalty decision was called late in the game, with a suspected handball from José María Giménez.
|Tie-breaking criteria for group play|
|The ranking of teams in the group stage is determined as follows:
|1||Netherlands||3||2||1||0||5||1||+4||7||Advance to knockout stage|
|1||England||3||2||1||0||9||2||+7||7||Advance to knockout stage|
|1||Poland||2||1||1||0||2||0||+2||4||Advance to knockout stage|
|1||France (A)||2||2||0||0||6||2||+4||6||Advance to knockout stage|
(A) Advance to a further round
|1||Spain||2||1||1||0||8||1||+7||4||Advance to knockout stage|
|1||Croatia||2||1||1||0||4||1||+3||4||Advance to knockout stage|
|1||Brazil (A)||2||2||0||0||3||0||+3||6||Advance to knockout stage|
(A) Advance to a further round
|1||Portugal (A)||2||2||0||0||5||2||+3||6||Advance to knockout stage|
(A) Advance to a further round
In the knockout stage, if the scores are equal at the end of normal playing time, extra time is played for two periods of 15 minutes each. This is followed, if necessary, by a penalty shoot-out to determine the winners.
|Round of 16||Quarter-finals||Semi-finals||Final|
|3 December – Al Rayyan (Khalifa)|
|9 December – Lusail|
|Winners Match 49|
|3 December – Al Rayyan (Ahmad bin Ali)|
|Winners Match 50|
|Winners Group C|
|13 December – Lusail|
|Runners-up Group D|
|Winners Match 57|
|5 December – Al Wakrah|
|Winners Match 58|
|Winners Group E|
|9 December – Al Rayyan (Education)|
|Runners-up Group F|
|Winners Match 53|
|5 December – Doha (974)|
|Winners Match 54|
|Winners Group G|
|18 December – Lusail|
|Runners-up Group H|
|Winners Match 61|
|4 December – Al Khor|
|Winners Match 62|
|10 December – Al Khor|
|Winners Match 51|
|4 December – Doha (Al Thumama)|
|Winners Match 52|
|Winners Group D|
|14 December – Al Khor|
|Runners-up Group C|
|Winners Match 59|
|6 December – Al Rayyan (Education)|
|Winners Match 60||Third place play-off|
|Winners Group F|
|10 December – Doha (Al Thumama)||17 December – Al Rayyan (Khalifa)|
|Runners-up Group E|
|Winners Match 55||Losers Match 61|
|6 December – Lusail|
|Winners Match 56||Losers Match 62|
|Winners Group H|
|Runners-up Group G|
Round of 16
Third place play-off
There have been 90 goals scored in 36 matches, for an average of 2.5 goals per match (as of 29 November 2022). Players highlighted in bold are still active in the competition.
- Enzo Fernández
- Mitchell Duke
- Craig Goodwin
- Michy Batshuayi
- Vincent Aboubakar
- Jean-Charles Castelletto
- Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
- Alphonso Davies
- Keysher Fuller
- Marko Livaja
- Lovro Majer
- Andreas Christensen
- Moisés Caicedo
- Jude Bellingham
- Phil Foden
- Jack Grealish
- Raheem Sterling
- Adrien Rabiot
- Niclas Füllkrug
- İlkay Gündoğan
- André Ayew
- Osman Bukari
- Mohammed Salisu
- Rouzbeh Cheshmi
- Ramin Rezaeian
- Takuma Asano
- Ritsu Dōan
- Zakaria Aboukhlal
- Romain Saïss
- Frenkie de Jong
- Davy Klaassen
- Robert Lewandowski
- Piotr Zieliński
- João Félix
- Rafael Leão
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Mohammed Muntari
- Salem Al-Dawsari
- Saleh Al-Shehri
- Boulaye Dia
- Famara Diédhiou
- Bamba Dieng
- Kalidou Koulibaly
- Ismaïla Sarr
- Sergej Milinković-Savić
- Aleksandar Mitrović
- Strahinja Pavlović
- Marco Asensio
- Dani Olmo
- Carlos Soler
- Breel Embolo
- Christian Pulisic
- Timothy Weah
- Gareth Bale
A player or team official is automatically suspended for the next match for the following offences:
- Receiving a red card (red card suspensions may be extended for serious offences)
- Receiving two yellow cards in two matches; yellow cards expire after the completion of the quarter-finals (yellow card suspensions are not carried forward to any other future international matches)
The following suspensions will be served during the tournament:
|Wayne Hennessey||in Group B vs Iran (matchday 2; 25 November)||Group B vs England (matchday 3; 29 November)|
|Alireza Jahanbakhsh|| in Group B vs England (matchday 1; 21 November)
in Group B vs Wales (matchday 2; 25 November)
|Group B vs United States (matchday 3; 29 November)|
|Sebas Méndez|| in Group A vs Qatar (matchday 1; 20 November)
in Group A vs Netherlands (matchday 2; 25 November)
|Group A vs Senegal (matchday 3; 29 November)|
|Abdulellah Al-Malki|| in Group C vs Argentina (matchday 1; 22 November)
in Group C vs Poland (matchday 2; 26 November)
|Group C vs Mexico (matchday 3; 30 November)|
|Francisco Calvo|| in Group E vs Spain (matchday 1; 23 November)
in Group E vs Japan (matchday 2; 27 November)
|Group E vs Germany (matchday 3; 1 December)|
|Amadou Onana|| in Group F vs Canada (matchday 1; 23 November)
in Group F vs Morocco (matchday 2; 27 November)
|Group F vs Croatia (matchday 3; 1 December)|
|Paulo Bento (manager)||in Group H vs Ghana (matchday 2; 28 November)||Group H vs Portugal (matchday 3; 2 December)|
|Idrissa Gueye|| in Group A vs Netherlands (matchday 1; 21 November)
in Group A vs Ecuador (matchday 3; 29 November)
|Round of 16 vs England (4 December)|
The Argentina vs Mexico match at the Lusail Stadium drew 88,966 spectators, the largest crowd to watch a World Cup match since the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final 28 years earlier, when 91,194 people watched Brazil vs Italy at the Rose Bowl.
Top 10 highest attendances
|1||88,966||Argentina vs Mexico||Lusail Iconic Stadium||Lusail||26 November 2022|||
|2||88,668||Portugal vs Uruguay||28 November 2022|||
|3||88,103||Brazil vs Serbia||24 November 2022|||
|4||88,012||Argentina vs Saudi Arabia||22 November 2022|||
|5||68,895||Spain vs Germany||Al Bayt Stadium||Al Khor||27 November 2022|||
|6||68,463||England vs United States||25 November 2022|||
|7||67,372||Qatar vs Ecuador||20 November 2022|||
|8||66,784||Netherlands vs Qatar||29 November 2022|||
|9||59,407||Morocco vs Croatia||23 November 2022|||
|10||45,334||England vs Iran||Khalifa International Stadium||Al Rayyan||21 November 2022|||
- Lowest attendance: 39,089 – Switzerland vs Cameroon, Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, 24 November 2022.
The official emblem was designed by Lisbon-based Brandia Central branding agency and unveiled in September 2019, during simultaneous events at the Doha Tower, Katara Cultural Village Amphitheatre, Msheireb Downtown Doha, and Zubarah. It is designed to resemble the tournament trophy, the infinity symbol, and the number "8", reflecting upon the "interconnected" event and the eight host stadiums. It also evokes imagery of shawls to signify the tournament's late fall scheduling, and contains waves resembling desert dunes. The typography of the emblem's wordmark incorporates kashida—the practice of elongating certain parts of characters in Arabic script to provide typographical emphasis.
Electronic Arts released the 2022 FIFA World Cup DLC in their video game FIFA 23 on 9 November 2022. The expansion includes a World Cup tournament mode with all teams and stadiums from the event, official television presentation elements, and theming, a multiplayer online tournament mode. Instead of being connected to FIFA Ultimate Team, the DLC includes a "World Cup Live" mode, which lets players emulate that day's matches.
On 24 August 2022, Panini produced themed stickers and a sticker album for a 14th consecutive World Cup. Collectors are meant to open player packs and use them to fill their sticker book with all 32 participating teams. This year, rare cards with coloured borders "parallels" can be found, and can be collected, traded, or sold.
In commemoration of the tournament, Google have released a free, mobile mini game called "Mini Cup". For every live match of the World Cup, fans can join a side and swipe to score penalties for their team, adding to the nation's total tally.
In May 2022, Infantino projected that the 2022 FIFA World Cup could be the most-watched in its history, with a global audience of at least 5 billion. The 2018 tournament was seen by 3.57 billion across the tournament. The various controversies surrounding the World Cup in Qatar has led to questions over how the tournament will be covered in the media, and whether they will be discussed or addressed during coverage. David Neal, executive producer for U.S. English rightsholder Fox Sports, stated that the broadcaster did not plan to cover issues that are "ancillary" to the tournament unless they "become prevalent and apparent", saying that "[viewers] don't come to us expecting us to be Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, or E:60".
In February 2015, FIFA extended its media rights contracts in Canada and the United States with Bell Media (Canada), Fox (U.S. English), and NBCUniversal (U.S. Spanish) to last through 2026, without taking any competing offers. The New York Times reported that this decision was likely intended as compensation for the rescheduling of the 2022 World Cup, as the new scheduling places the tournament in competition with major professional sports leagues in North America, such as the National Football League. The group stage did benefit from matches occurring during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend, when the England–U.S. group stage match was seen by approximately 20 million viewers across both Fox and Telemundo, ranking among the highest-rated associated football broadcasts in U.S. history (the highest was a 2014 World Cup match that drew 24.7 million).
|FIFA partners||FIFA World Cup sponsors||African and Middle Eastern supporters||Asian supporters||European supporters||North American supporters||South American supporters|
The tournament's official mascot was unveiled on 1 April 2022, during the group stage draw. Its name is Laʼeeb (Arabic: لعيب, romanized: Laʿīb), which is an Arabic word meaning "super-skilled player". The official website of FIFA says: "Laʼeeb will be known for his youthful spirit; spreading joy and confidence everywhere he goes", and the official backstory of the character, published there, claims that it comes from a parallel world where tournament mascots live, "a world where ideas and creativity form the basis of characters that live in the minds of everyone".
The official match ball, "Al Rihla", was unveiled on 30 March 2022. It was mainly inspired by the culture, architecture, iconic boats and flag of Qatar. In Arabic, the word Al Rihla (الْرِّحْلَة ar-riḥla) means "the journey". The ball was designed with sustainability as a priority, making it the first ever official match ball created with water-based glues and inks. As "the game is getting faster" and "speeds up", Adidas used some new features, allowing to provide speed and improve the accuracy of the ball.
For the first time, a full FIFA World Cup official soundtrack has been released, instead of one official song. The first song of the album is "Hayya Hayya (Better Together)", performed by Trinidad Cardona, Davido and AISHA, released on 1 April 2022 along with the music video. The second song is "Arhbo", performed by Gims and Ozuna, released on 19 August 2022 along with the music video. The third song is "Light The Sky" performed by Nora Fatehi, Manal, Rahma Riad and Balqees, composed by RedOne and released on 7 October 2022 along with the music video. A fourth song, "Tukoh Taka", performed by Maluma, Nicki Minaj and Myriam Fares, was released on 17 November 2022 along with the music video, serving as the official song of the FIFA Fan Festival. The fifth and final song, Dreamers, performed by Jungkook of BTS featuring backing vocals from Qatari singer Fahad Al Kubaisi, was released on 20 November 2022, the opening day of the World Cup and also performed during the opening ceremony. 
While allegations of "sportswashing" have undoubted merit, they are unsurprising in a historical context. Politicians have always sought prestige and profile through [football]... But while Qatar is hardly an aberration, it does represent a significant shift, a waning of European influence over [football] as the broader power nexus widens from the Global North to the South. That the tournament was moved from its usual summer timetable to the middle of Europe's domestic league timetable—much to the ire of the continent's richest and most powerful clubs—to avoid the Gulf's blistering summer heat is a case in point.
And Qatar may simply shrug off allegations of corruption as well as migrant and human rights abuses related to the World Cup because it may not see these issues as quite the priority. That comes as the growing economic clout of China and oil- and gas-rich autocracies like Qatar continues to gnaw away at Western presumptions about the superiority of liberal democracy.
The selection of Qatar as the host country has been controversial. Various commentators described it as a cultural clash between the tenets of Islamic morality and the norms of secular Western liberal democracies. Charlie Campbell of Time Magazine additionally noted the dispute as dually representative of the declining influence of the West in both football and geopolitics.
A number of groups and media outlets have expressed concern over the suitability of Qatar to host the event, with regard to human rights, focusing on worker conditions and the rights of LGBT fans because of the illegality of homosexuality in Qatar. In December 2020, Qatar allowed rainbow flags at the 2022 World Cup. Hassan Abdulla al-Thawadi, chief executive of the country's 2022 World Cup bid, said that Qatar would permit alcohol consumption during the event, even though drinking in public is not permitted, as the country's legal system is based on Islamic law (sharīʿa). In the days preceding the opening on the competition, several controversies arose, including the changing rules relating to the alcohol ban and the change of rules surrounding the paid-for fans.
Qatari officials initially stated that they would not prohibit the display of pride flags at tournament venues, in accordance with FIFA's inclusivity policies, although the country still advised LGBT attendees to comply with the country's modesty and avoid public displays of affection. There were also plans to allow the sale of alcohol inside stadiums and at fan villages. Normally, the sale of alcohol is restricted to non-Muslim guests at selected luxury hotels only.
However, in the months preceding the tournament, Qatar walked back on both commitments: security officials warned in April 2022 that pride flags could be confiscated to protect attendees from potential conflicts with attendees who do not support LGBT rights, and the sale of alcohol to fans within the stadiums was prohibited just days before the opening match. This also led to concerns about what other commitments may be rolled back.
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 November and December. 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. 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". The attendance figures at the matches have also come under scrutiny as the reported crowd attendance has been more than the stadium capacities despite games having visible empty seats.
Prior to the tournament, a reporter for Denmark's TV 2 was threatened by security during a live report from Katara; the organising committee apologised, stating that they were "mistakenly interrupted". Tony O'Donoghue of Ireland's RTÉ also accused Qatari police of interrupting him while filming.
On 5 November 2022, The Sunday Times and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism published an investigation reporting that a "hack-for-hire" group from Indian hacking company "WhiteInt" based in Gurgaon had compromised the email accounts and other private communications channels of various politicians, reporters, and other prominent individuals that had been critical of Qatar's hosting of the World Cup. It was also reported that the group had been hired by Jonas Rey, private investigators based in Switzerland, which were in turn hired by Qatari officials.
In November 2022, just before the tournament kicked off, Blatter again stated that awarding the tournament to Qatar was a "mistake". He remarked that the nation is "too small of a country" to host the tournament and that "football and the World Cup are too big for it".
The Economist provided a defence for FIFA's choice, stating that Qatar was "a more suitable country to host a big sporting event" than both China and Russia, who hosted the 2022 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup respectively, and both of whom arguably have worse human rights records. Moreover, it added that "Western criticism" failed to "distinguish between truly repugnant regimes and merely flawed ones", and that many "indignant pundits" simply sounded as if they did "not like Muslims or rich people".
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, compelled to forced labor, and that they were not paid on time or at all, making some of them effectively 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. They are given preference in 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. Amnesty International have 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 riyals 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. Later that year, 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.
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 their existing 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.
An investigative report published by The Guardian used data from embassies and national foreign employment offices to estimate migrant worker death toll since World Cup was awarded to Qatar. Between 2010 and late 2020 over 6,500 migrant workers from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar. Note that this figure includes deaths of all migrant workers in Qatar, who number more than 2 million; and not only those employed in the construction of the stadiums. It also includes deaths from all causes, including natural causes, suicides, along with those caused through negligence. At the 2022 FIFA Congress in Doha, Lise Klaveness—head of the Norwegian Football Federation—criticised the organisation for having awarded the World Cup to Qatar, citing the various controversies surrounding the tournament. She argued that "in 2010 World Cups were awarded by FIFA in unacceptable ways with unacceptable consequences. Human rights, equality, democracy: the core interests of football were not in the starting XI until many years later. These basic rights were pressured onto the field as substitutes by outside voices. FIFA has addressed these issues but there's still a long way to go." Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary general of Qatar 2022, criticised her remarks for ignoring the country's recent labour reforms. The European Union's Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2021 noted Qatar's labour law reforms had incorporated non-discriminatory minimum wage systems and removal of the Kafala system in 2021.
In March 2022, FIFA president Gianni Infantino claimed in an interview that the Gulf nation is being progressive in terms of the labour rights and migrant rights issues that prevailed previously, adding "I am pleased to see the strong commitment from the Qatari authorities to ensure 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." Shortly before the tournament, France 24 broadcast a report titled "The plight of migrant workers in Qatar", adding more details to the controversy and how many reform laws have not been followed.
In a news conference preceding the tournament on 19 November 2022, Infantino defended criticism of Qatar from the West as hypocritical, stating that "I think for what we Europeans have been doing for 3,000 years around the world, we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people." He asked, "how many of these European companies who earn millions and millions from Qatar or other countries in the region—billions every year—how many of them have addressed migrant worker rights? I have the answer: none of them, because if they change the legislation it means less profits. But we did. And FIFA generated much, much, much less than any of these companies, from Qatar."
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, the 2022 Winter Paralympics in March 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 Western Christmas 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 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 final would be played on 18 December.
Critics have condemned the Euro-centrism of these allegations, and demanded why global sporting events must be held within the traditional European summer season.
Bidding corruption allegations, 2014
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.
In June 2014, five of FIFA's six primary sponsors, Sony, Adidas, Visa, Hyundai, and Coca-Cola, called upon FIFA to investigate the claims. Jim Boyce, vice president of FIFA, stated 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 fuelled 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 and 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.[needs update]
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."[needs update]
Qatar diplomatic crisis in 2017
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 a "base of terrorism". In October 2017, Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, deputy head of Dubai Police and General Security, wrote about the crisis on Twitter in Arabic: "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 the World Cup "should include a repudiation of policies supporting extremism & terrorism".
On 9 December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) handed Russia a four-year ban from all major sporting events, after RUSADA was found non-compliant for handing over manipulated lab data to investigators. The Russian national team were still permitted to enter qualification, as the ban only applied to the final tournament to decide the world champions. A team representing Russia, which uses the Russian flag and anthem, could not participate under the WADA decision whilst the ban is active. 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 organised or sanctioned by a WADA signatory until 16 December 2022, the day before the third-place playoff.
After the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia's participation was further thrown into doubt. On 24 February, the three teams in Russia's qualifying path — Czech Republic, Poland, and Sweden — announced their unwillingness to play any matches in Russian territory. Poland and Sweden extended the boycott on 26 February to any qualifying games, and the Czech Republic made the same decision one day later.
On 27 February 2022, FIFA announced a number of sanctions impacting Russia's participation in international football. Russia was prohibited from hosting international competitions, and the national team was ordered to play all home matches behind closed doors in neutral countries. Under these sanctions, Russia would not be allowed to compete under the country's name, flag, or national anthem; similarly to the Russian athletes' participation in events such as the Olympics, the team would compete under the abbreviation of their national federation, the Russian Football Union ("RFU"), rather than "Russia". The next day, however, FIFA decided to suspend Russia from international competitions "until further notice", including its participation in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This was a new policy from FIFA, as in the past FIFA did not boycott Saddam Hussein's Iraq, as the aggressor during the Iran–Iraq War, or Saudi Arabia for its military intervention in Yemen, or the United States, during its invasion of Iraq.
As early as 2010, concerns have been raised about the rights of members of the LGBT community who attend the tournament, since homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. After Qatar was chosen as host, Blatter was criticised for jokingly telling a reporter inquiring about these concerns that gay attendees "should refrain from any sexual activities". In apology for the statement, Blatter assured that FIFA did not tolerate discrimination, and stated that "what we want to do is open this game to everybody, and to open it to all cultures, and this is what we are doing in 2022." In 2013, Hassan al-Thawadi stated that everyone would be welcome at Qatar 2022, but warned against public displays of affection because they were "not part of our culture and tradition".
In November 2021, Australian footballer Josh Cavallo, who came out as gay in October 2021, said he would be afraid to travel to Qatar to play. Nasser Al Khater, head of the tournament's organising committee, replied that Cavallo would be "welcome" in the country.
Qatari officials initially stated in December 2020 that, in accordance with FIFA's inclusion policy, it would not restrict the display of pro-LGBT imagery and symbols (such as rainbow flags) at matches during the World Cup. However, in April 2022, a senior security official overseeing the tournament stated that there were plans to confiscate pride flags from spectators, allegedly as a safety measure to protect them from altercations with spectators that are anti-LGBT. Fare network criticised the report, arguing that actions against the LGBT community by the state were of a greater concern to those attending the World Cup than the actions of individuals.
In September 2022, several European soccer federations asked FIFA to allow their teams captains to wear armbands displaying a rainbow heart design as part of the human rights OneLove campaign to fight discrimination. FIFA, who bans teams from bringing their own armband designs to the World Cup, has yet to decide on the issue. In October 2022, Human Rights Watch called on FIFA to press Qatar to launch reforms that protected LGBT people after a Qatari official denied that there were cases of LGBT people beaten in jail. Qatari officials also rejected allegations that there were conversion therapy centers in Qatar.
In November 2022, the German government condemned comments made in an interview with a TV channel by Khalid Salman, a former footballer and also a Qatari official for the promotion of the World Cup, who said homosexuality was a "damage in the mind". In the same interview Salman said "The most important thing is, everybody will accept that they come here. But they will have to accept our rules. [Homosexuality] is haram. You know what haram means?" and "I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind". However, Salman later stated that his comments were misinterpreted. An extended video posted later revealed that Salman's comment "damage in the mind" was in relation to alcohol and not homosexuality, and that he had been misrepresented by news agencies.
On 13 November 2022, a week before the tournament was due to kick off, British comedian Joe Lycett released a video criticising David Beckham for his lucrative sponsorship deal promoting the World Cup due to the country's stance on LGBT rights. In the video, he said he would give £10,000 to charities that support queer people in football if Beckham pulled out of the deal. If Beckham did not pull out of the deal, he promised to shred the money during a livestream on 20 November, just before the World Cup opening ceremony. After the deadline passed with no response from Beckham or his representatives, Lycett livestreamed himself appearing to shred the money. Associations were warned about players being booked for wearing rainbow coloured armbands at the tournament after having arrived at the tournament. A joint statement by England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands confirmed they would not wear the armband during matches at the tournament. The BBC Sport television pundit Alex Scott wore the armband pitch-side before the England vs Iran match.
Also on 13 November, singer Dua Lipa denied speculations that she would be performing in Qatar, stating in her Instagram Stories post that she looked "forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the World Cup." Rod Stewart, meanwhile, claimed he had refused over $1 million to perform at the tournament.
In a news conference preceding the tournament on 19 November 2022, Infantino continued to affirm that "everyone who comes to Qatar is welcome, whatever religion, race, sexual orientation, belief she or he has, everyone is welcome. This was our requirement and the Qatari state sticks to that requirement", and argued that anti-LGBT laws "exist in many countries in the world", and "existed in Switzerland when they organised the World Cup in 1954."
Amid popular criticism, political commentary magazine The Economist also provided a defence for FIFA's choice, stating that Qatar was "a more suitable country to host a big sporting event" than both China and Russia, who hosted the 2022 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup respectively, and who both have arguably worse human rights records. Moreover, it added that "Western criticism" failed to "distinguish between truly repugnant regimes and merely flawed ones", and that many "indignant pundits" simply sounded as if they did "not like Muslims or rich people".
At the start of the tournament, the BBC refused to broadcast Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony, instead led with host Gary Lineker delivering a critique of Qatar's records on homosexuality and treatment of migrant workers. Jim Waterson of the The Guardian commented that the Qatari authorities “probably hoped [the opening ceremony] would be the moment when the global media finally focused on football rather than human rights”.
Rainbow-coloured bucket hats were confiscated from Welsh supporters, including from the former Wales women's captain Laura McAllister, by Qatari officials before their Group B opener against the United States. National team talks were opened between FIFA and Qatari officials on 22 November. An American fan with a rainbow flag had also been confronted while traveling to the game, and an American reporter had been unable to enter a match as security claimed they were protecting him from fans that might attack him. Reportedly Qatari officials had previously confirmed that rainbow flags were allowed at the tournament.
In a match between Portugal and Uruguay, in which Uruguay lost 2–0, a protestor invaded the pitch, waving a rainbow flag.
Discrimination against women was also criticised. Women in Qatar must obtain permission from their male guardians to marry, study abroad on government scholarships, work in many government jobs, travel abroad, receive certain forms of reproductive health care, and act as the primary guardian of children, even if they are divorced.
A Mexican employee of the World Cup organizing committee was accused of allegedly having sex outside of marriage. The woman had previously reported rape. However, the male claimed to have been in a relationship with her, after which the woman was investigated for extramarital sex. Women in Qatar face the possible penalty of flagellation and a seven-year prison sentence if convicted for having sex outside of marriage. The criminal case against the organizing committee employee was dropped months after she was allowed to leave Qatar.
In 2020, Qatar began a fan engagement program promising to pay air travel, entrance tickets to matches, housing and even spending money for groups of fans from all competing nations under the Fan Leader Network programme. However, fans who are handpicked by the Qatari government are required to sing and chant when asked to, and are required to report any social media posts which are critical of Qatar.
As part of the Qatari bid, alcohol was to be permitted to be consumed around the stadiums. This is in contradiction to Qatari law which prohibits public consumption of alcohol and limits its consumption to high-end hotels. It was agreed that Budweiser, FIFA's largest sponsor, would be permitted to sell their beer in designated areas in the stadium. Eight days before the tournament Qatari officials informed AB InBev, the owners of Budweiser, that the beer tents were to be moved to less prominent areas and were no longer authorised inside the stadiums but still within the stadium perimeter.
Two days before the tournament, on 18 November 2022, FIFA released a statement that sale points of beer will be removed from stadium perimeters in contradiction to both the Qatari bid and the earlier commitment when the sales were moved outside of the stadiums. FIFA's response was questioned as FIFA had forced recent World Cup hosts, such as Brazil, to change their laws to allow alcohol consumption at matches in line with sponsorship commitments. Alcohol will still be permitted, however, inside the fan villages and inside the stadiums in the corporate hospitality boxes, leading to claims of double standards.
Regarding the last-minute Qatari ban on the sale of beer at the stadiums, Infantino proclaimed in his press conference: "I think personally, if for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer, you will survive."
Treatment of Jewish visitors
Qatar had previously promised to provide Jewish tourists with cooked kosher foods and public Jewish prayer services at the 2022 World Cup. Qatar did neither, claiming that they could not secure the safety of Jews in public places whilst many of them complained that they subsequently had no food available to eat.
Treatment of Israeli visitors
Multiple Israeli reporters at the tournament reported fans from Arab nations chanting anti-Israeli slogans. Some Israelis reported that they had been escorted out of restaurants when their nationality was revealed.
The Rawdat Al Jahhaniya fan village was criticised for its overpriced "night cabins" (£185 per night), made of shipping containers. Tourists complained that the air conditioners in the cabins did not function well, that facilities were falling apart, and that the sleeping experience did not match their expectations. The lack of suitable and affordable accommodation has raised demand for daily shuttle flights from neighboring areas, such as Dubai, that have adequate numbers of hotel rooms.
Censorship in China
The state-run China Central Television replaced close-ups of spectators with close-ups of players or coaches during live broadcasts to avoid Chinese viewers seeing unmasked stadium spectators and questioning China's Zero Covid policy.
- The 2018 competition in Russia featured two Asian venues, according to various definitions of the geographical boundary between Asia and Europe: Yekaterinburg and Sochi.
- Qatar has very high temperatures and is quite humid during summers.
- The tournament is the first not to be held in the traditional months of May, June, or July and take place in the northern autumn and winter.
- UEFA Path A winners, team not determined at time of draw
- CONCACAF v OFC winners, team not determined at time of draw
- AFC v CONMEBOL winners, team not determined at time of draw
- Ahmad bin Ali Stadium is in Al Rayyan but outside the area of the Doha area map.
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