Cover A replica of the Fifa World Cup outside the entrance to the Education City Stadium (Photo: Getty Images)

With the World Cup in full swing, we break down the basics of this year's event, including the controversies surrounding it

Twenty years after the South Korea-Japan hosted 2002 Fifa World Cup, the world's biggest football tournament made a return to Asian soil in Qatar. With the likes of Son Heung Min, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lionel Messi, Christian Eriksen, Kevin De Bruyne, Neymar, and Cristiano Ronaldo gracing the roster at this year's World Cup, the event is bound to go down as one of the most competitive editions of the global tournament yet.

However, the lead up to this World Cup was not without its fair share of controversies. 

See also: World Cup Qatar 2022: 5 Asian Players to Watch

It's the first winter World Cup

Usually held in the middle of the year during the Northern Hemisphere's summer months, the World Cup is making its debut in winter due to the Middle East's unforgiving summer heat when temperatures can soar up to a gruelling temperature of 50°C and above.

Controversy after controversy

This World Cup is already one of the most controversial in Fifa's history. After it won the hosting rights in 2010, Qatar started to building new luxurious accommodation, stadiums, and highways, in anticipation of the event.

As part of its responsibilities as host, Qatar was tasked with upholding human rights laws. However, there was no due diligence or conditions set for the protection of migrant workers who worked 14-18 hours a day. In a 2021 investigation by The Guardian, it was found that more than 6,500 migrant workers from south Asian countries had died from various causes, including workplace accidents.

There were also allegations of bribery and corruption; Fifa officials had been accused of offering and/or accepting bribes relating to government deals, gas deals, and more, as part of its selection and development processes. 

See also: 5 Minutes With Singaporean Football Icon Fandi Ahmad

Enormous carbon print

A total of eight stadiums—Al Bayt Stadium (where the opening ceremony was held), Khalifa International Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, Lusail Stadium, Stadium 974, Education City Stadium, and Al Janoub Stadium—were built to accommodate 64 matches. To fight the heat, all except Stadium 974 use a cooling system designed by local professor Saud Abdulaziz Abdul Ghani to ensure the comfort of the players and spectators.

However, this has added to the tournament's total greenhouse gas emissions and overall carbon footprint, despite the system using an efficient air recycling method. According to the Fifa, the development of the World Cup's infrastructure accounts for a quarter of the tournament's total emissions with the rest coming from other sources such as air travel and accommodation. 

The most expensive World Cup

World Cup 2022 is estimated to have cost a whopping US$200 billion just on building the relevant infrastructure. 

It's a one-city World Cup

Qatar is one of the smallest nations in the world, comparable to the US state of Connecticut. Concentrated in the capital of Doha, the players would not need to travel to different locations for their matches, as was the case when Russia and Brazil were the hosts. 


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