Doha, Qatar – The 2022 Men’s World Cup is just around the corner. The opening game kicks off on November 20, nearly 12 years after the day Qatar was awarded the hosting rights to the tournament.
The event will feature 32 teams and attract over 1.2 million visitors to Qatar, which will become the first country in the Middle East to host football’s biggest tournament.
Here is a list of some other firsts at this year’s World Cup:
In July, football’s world governing body FIFA announced the use of a semi-automated offside system at the World Cup to help make quick and accurate offside calls.
According to the governing body’s rules, a player is in an offside position if “any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponent’s half of the pitch (excluding the halfway line) and any part of the head, body or feet is closer to the opponents’ goal line than the ball and the penultimate opponent”.
The technology uses an in-ball sensor and a limb-tracking camera system to track players’ movements. To help fans and home viewers understand the referee’s decision, the data will be used to project 3D images onto stadium screens.
Teams will be allowed five substitutions in each game compared to three at the previous World Cup in Russia in 2018.
The regulations were introduced by football regulator, the International Football Association Board, in 2020 after what it said was “a global analysis of the continuing impact of COVID-19 on football as well as the representations of several key stakeholders from across football”. community”.
If a World Cup game goes into extra time, an additional substitution will be allowed.
Several soccer leagues, including Spain’s La Liga and Major League Soccer in the United States, have implemented the change over the past two years.
November kick off
Unlike previous tournaments, Qatar 2022 will take place during the months of November and December.
Previously, the World Cup had always been held during the northern hemisphere summer, often in June and July. The change was made to avoid the high temperatures in Qatar, which can reach up to 50C (122F) during this time.
During the tournament, temperatures are expected to range from 14C to 31C (57F to 88F).
Extended Team Lists
In November, participating countries will nominate teams containing a maximum of 26 players, three more than was allowed at the World Cup in Russia.
According to FIFA, the change was made due to the “unique moment” of the tournament being held in November and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The list of preliminary World Cup teams has also been expanded, from a maximum of 35 players to 55.
For the first time at the men’s World Cup, three women have been included among the 36 referees selected for Qatar 2022.
France’s Stéphanie Frappart, Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita and Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga have already officiated at a men’s tournament, including the UEFA Super Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations.
“It’s a strong sign from FIFA and the authorities to have female referees in this country,” Frappart said. “I’m not a feminist spokesperson, but if that can shake things up…”
Joining them are three other women who will serve among the 69 assistant referees.
Most “compact” World Cup
With an area of just over 11,500 km2 (4,440 sq mi) and a population of around 2.9 million, Qatar will be the smallest country to ever host FIFA’s flagship tournament.
All eight stadiums are located within a 50 km (31 mile) radius of the capital, Doha. During the group stages, most matchdays will feature up to four games.
While Qatar and FIFA say the ‘compact’ nature of the tournament will allow people to watch multiple games a day, critics say an influx of more than 1.2million could lead to major congestion in the streets , making it harder for people to move across the country.
“Having four matches a day is a challenge in a city like Doha,” Abdulaziz Ali Al-Mawlawi of the Supreme Delivery and Legacy Committee, the tournament organizer, said last month. “…Of course, we expect to have traffic jams in the streets.”
Schools in Qatar will remain closed during the World Cup while office working hours have been reduced.