Finally, the event everyone waits 4 years for has returned!
And this year, FIFA World Cup host Qatar joins 31 other countries to kick off the global sporting event, slated to start 21st November and end with a riveting finals match on the 18th of December.
There are a multitude of reasons to look forward to the FIFA World Cup: the crowds, the football chatter – even from aunties and uncles at mamaks – and hearing the inevitable “GOAAAL” from your screen. But there are even more factors that make the 2022 World Cup, in particular, a unique spectacle to enjoy.
It’s the second ever World Cup held in Asia
The cherry on top of the cake is, of course, Qatar being the first ever Middle Eastern nation to host the FIFA World Cup.
This is quite an achievement, seeing as it is also the second ever time the World Cup will be held in Asia, with the first being in 2002 when Japan and South Korea were co-hosts. With it being the midpoint between Asian and European continents, it provides an opportunity for supporters from all over the world to come together and enjoy the sport.
It’s the first to introduce female referees
It’s slightly insane to think that there have been no female referees prior to this World Cup, but it’s a fact!
However, that all changes this year as, for the first time in World Cup history, female referees will officiate at the football matches – Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda, Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan, and Stephanie Frappart from France will be among the 36 referees chosen to oversee the matches at the competition.
It’s the first time Qatar will play in the World Cup
Speaking of firsts, this is also set to be Qatar’s first participation in the World Cup competition.
While they’ve been attempting to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for over twenty years, they never quite made it past the group stages. However, being the host country and now having the home advantage, Qatar has automatically qualified for the 2022 World Cup.
It’s the first “winter” World Cup
Whether you’re an ardent World Cup fan or not, it’s not a secret that the matches have usually take place in the summer, according to northern hemisphere seasons.
However, because of Qatar’s high midyear temperatures, which can go up to 50ºC, this exception was made to ensure players and spectators alike would be able to enjoy the event in relative comfort.
It has fewer stadiums, but they’re all fully air-conditioned
Though FIFA guidelines state there need to be a minimum of six stadiums, countries have been known to go above and beyond that quantity to house more viewers and prepare for avid fans to make their holiday trips.
That having been said, Qatar has lined up only eight stadiums – the lowest number of venues for the World Cup in recent years. However, Qatar, combating the potentially high heats of their country, is equipping all eight stadiums with air conditioning, making it the first fully air-conditioned viewing of the event ever.
Its inter-stadium commuting is a breeze
This event has also been lauded as being one of the most commutable, and not just because there are fewer stadiums.
Qatar is a comparatively small country, and host cities such as Doha, Lusail, Al Wakrah and Al Rayyan are within close proximity to each other. As a result, moving from one venue to another isn’t stressful for travellers and spectators.
Plus, it helps that the two most remote stadiums of Qatar – the Al Bayt and Al Wakrah – are only 90 miles apart, making it perfect for people supporting multiple teams.
Bonus fact: it’s watchable from anywhere
If you’re scared about missing out on your favourite teams playing because you’re out and about, or because your streams might lag at a pivotal moment in the match, there’s a way to solve all your stresses.
With an M1’s SIM-only plan, you can access a True 5G network that ensures your football watching will be smoother than any penalty goals awarded. All you have to do is pick between 100GB for just $19.95 or 80GB for $17.95 per month, then select a 5G add-on to enjoy 10x faster speeds than your regular 4G network!