Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar
© Qatar 2022/Supreme Committee via Getty Image
Kick-off in Qatar. 2022 Fifa World Cup
The world’s top teams will battle it out for the biggest prize in football, as the 2022 World Cup gets under way in Qatar. The prestigious tournament has been held every four years since 1930, except when WWII derailed it in 1942, and 1946. Current world champions France will seek to defend their title amid fierce competition, with the final scheduled for Qatar National Day, 18 December. This is the first World Cup hosted by a Middle Eastern country, and it's later in the year than usual, due to the hot weather in Qatar.
Controversy has swirled around Qatar 2022 from the get-go. Senior officials in Fifa, football’s governing body, expressed concerns about corruption in the way it was awarded to Qatar, although an internal investigation didn't prove any violation. Soon Qatar’s treatment of the country’s invaluable two million migrant workers - mostly from Africa and Asia - was criticised, with groups like Amnesty International citing unethical labour practices.
While Qatar enacted new laws to improve worker safety, conditions and pay, Amnesty has stressed that these laws must also be effectively implemented. Perhaps the extent of the reforms will be revealed as football fans flood the nation and the TV cameras roll.