365 days are left until the most atypical edition that is remembered of a World Cup begins. The club competitions will have to stop when they have only been several months so that the players can concentrate with their teams and thus prepare the appointment of Qatar. It is the first time that this competition has been held in the Middle East, in a country that has created practically all the stadiums to host this competition.
The COVID-19 pandemic means that the calendars have had to be seen even tighter and that in this way the spectator can enjoy a European Championship, an Olympic Games and a World Cup in just a year and a half. On the contrary, the main loser is the footballer, since, in addition to international commitments, he also has a long list of matches with his clubs.
The road to Qatar
Thursday, March 31, 2022 will be one of the most anticipated moments in this world event. This date occurs two days after the playoffs end and will be the moment when the groups are drawn for the Qatar World Cup. FIFA will hold its 72nd Ordinary Congress in the Qatari capital, Doha, and that will be the context in which the distribution will take place.
The format for distributing the teams in the different pots will be identical to that held in previous editions of a World Cup. The selections will be divided into four pots and will be ordered according to the FIFA ranking. Qatar, host, will be seeded. There will be groups from ‘A’ to ‘H’, therefore a total of eight groups will be established with four teams in each of them.
The current panorama of the teams is as follows: there are already classified European countries and also belonging to CONMEBOL, Brazil and Argentina. In the case of the old continent, all the teams that will go directly to Qatar and also those that will play the repechage have already been set. In the rest of the continents, qualifying matches are still being played to reach the World Cup.
The stadiums: the jewel in the Qatari crown
There are seventy kilometers of difference between the different stadiums that will host the World Cup in Qatar. This is also one of the peculiarities of the event that will take place in 2022. The organizers boast that fans will be able to attend a match that takes place at 4:00 p.m. and quickly go to another that is played two hours later. The reality is different and it is that, although they march at a very good pace, the construction of all the stadiums has not yet been completed with a year to go before the World Cup is played.
Doha has become the city that will host all the jewels in the crown of Qatari football. Eight majestic stadiums rise over a city that goes out of its way to show its power in front of this great football event. The Lusail Stadium, site of the final, is still in the process of completion. From Qatar they assure that it is one of the most impressive in the world and that it has been created specifically for this event. It has a capacity for more than 86,000 spectators and is the most impressive of them all.
The other seven stadiums for the 2022 World Cup will be: Al Bayt, where the opening ceremony will be held with a capacity for 60,000 spectators; Al Yanub, with retractable roof and cooling system; The following are: Ahmad bin Ali, Al Zumama, Education City Stadium, Khalifa International and lastly, Ras Abu Abud.
The impact of the World Cup on footballers
The World Cup will take place when the club competitions have already started. The different leagues, Champions, Europa League … will find themselves underway when the matches have to be cut to prepare for the Qatar appointment. Between the preparation and the competition itself, footballers will be away from their clubs for around six weeks at best, counting seven days before and seven after the World Cup itself.
The flexibility in the dates will probably mean that the competition for the 2022-2023 season will start at the beginning of August and last until June, also assuming a rebound effect with the 23-24 campaign. It is still unknown, but it is undoubtedly the factor that determines in a more direct way the planning of the following football seasons.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.