What traveling fans can expect at the World Cup in Qatar – the Athletic


A year from now, the whole world will be turned to the World Cup final at Lusail Stadium in Qatar.

Two teams will stand as a tournament like no other – mired in controversy and funded by the great wealth of its hosts – crowns its winner.

For Qatar, that will be the time they spent a decade preparing. A first World Cup staged in the Arab world will, according to tournament organizers, provide a “deep legacy” for the tiny Gulf state and see more than a million people come to watch its 64 matches.

Critics – and there are many – argue that Qatar does not deserve the honor of hosting a World Cup. There was, they say, corruption in the selection process that saw Qatar first award the tournament in 2010 and no scrutiny has sufficiently improved a dismal human rights record.

Opposition views are strong, but the countdown to the 2022 World Cup continues.

The 2021 Arab Cup served as a dress rehearsal and will reach its final when Tunisia faces Algeria on Saturday. Qatar, beaten in the semi-final by Algeria in overtime, will also play a play-off against Egypt for third place on their national day.

World Cup organizers believe the past few weeks have proven that Qatar are almost ready for their moment in the spotlight, but what experience can fans expect if they want to be a part of it?

The moral labyrinth

The first question facing any supporter considering visiting Qatar is a moral one: Are the host country’s persistent human rights criticisms enough to keep you from traveling?

Qatar may be trying to project a new image to the world, but within its final year of preparation, shadows remain.

The human cost of hosting this World Cup final has been high, with the lives of migrant workers lost in extreme heat.

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