Qatar 2022 World Cup: Tournament of many firsts

There are seven weeks to go before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 kicks off and breaks new ground.

The tiny Arab nation in the Persian Gulf will become the focus of the world and there will be a number of firsts to mark the tournament.

This is the first FIFA World Cup to be hosted in the Middle East and the first by an Arab nation.

At just over 11,500 square kilometres in size, Qatar will become the smallest country to ever host the tournament.

By comparison, the 2018 FIFA World Cup hosts Russia measured in at 17,1 million square kilometres, that is nearly 1,500 times the size.

This will be the first World Cup to be played outside of May, June or July. The traditional World Cup calendar has been shifted from the typical mid-year timeframe and will instead be played between November 20 and December 18 due to the heat in Qatar.

Now it is being played in the northern hemisphere winter and right in the middle of football season for many of the world’s top leagues.

With the 2022 tournament spanning 28 days, it will be the shortest timeframe for a 32-team World Cup.

As hosts, Qatar have qualified for the World Cup for the first time, and they are the only debutants at the tournament.

At Qatar 2022, we will see females refereeing men’s World Cup matches for the first time.

The trio of women set to make history in the Middle East later this year are Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda, France’s Stephanie Frappart and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan.

There are more women named among the assistant referees selected for the tournament too.

With sustainability and legacy at the forefront of this World Cup, Qatar is the first host nation to achieve an International Sustainability Certification. It will also feature the first-ever World Cup stadium that can be completely disassembled.

Stadium 974 is made from shipping containers and will be dismantled after the tournament and parts shipped off to developing countries for various projects selected by the Qatari royal family.

Great news for fans is that this is being billed as the first World Cup where fans can attend multiple matches a day.

Thanks to the compactness of the country and high-speed metro access at all stadiums, fans are being promised the ability to watch up to three live matches a day.

The furthest distance between two stadiums – Al Bayt and Al Janoub Stadium – is just over 70km, while the majority of the eight stadiums are in and around the capital, Doha. – SuperSport

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