I was in my 3rd year of stay in Qatar, on the 2nd of December 2010, when it was awarded as the host of the FIFA WORLD CUP 2022 to become the first Middle Eastern country in history to win its World Cup bid. The country was filled with jubilation and all its activities seemed to be headed towards shaping the country for this momentous event – almost everything that’s happening around the city is about the World Cup: stadiums, hotels, malls, highways, you name it!
And after 12 long years of anticipation, all the endless controversies, three and a half years of blockade, and two years of pandemic, we are finally in the home stretch of what is set to become the biggest sporting event of this time.
With only a few days left leading to the Opening Ceremonies on 20th November 2022, let’s check out what has been the updates on the preparations of Qatar for all the football fans around the world.
Below are collections of related information that may be helpful, especially for visitors and fans traveling to Qatar soon.
WORLD CUP STADIUMS
With a total of 7 brand new stadiums plus 1 renovated to expanded capacity amounting to $6.5 billion to $10 billion, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar by far remains the most expensive, with the estimated cost of the tournament standing at a whopping $220 billion in total, according to reports.
1. LUSAIL STADIUM (read more here in our special FIFA Primer by Best Life Qatar)
- Lusail City, 20km north of central Doha
- Host of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Final Match
- 80,000 capacity
2. AL BAYT STADIUM (read more here in our special FIFA Primer by Best Life Qatar)
- Al Khor City, 35km north of central Doha
- Host of the Opening Match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™
- 60,000 capacity
3. AL JANOUB STADIUM (read more here in our special FIFA Primer by Best Life Qatar)
- Al Wakrah, 22km east of central Doha
- 40,000 capacity
4. EDUCATION CITY STADIUM (read more here in our special FIFA Primer by Best Life Qatar)
- Al Rayyan, 13km north-west of central Doha (inside Qatar Foundation)
- 40,000 capacity
5. AHMAD BIN ALI STADIUM (read more here in our special FIFA Primer by Best Life Qatar)
- Umm Al Afaei, 20km west of central Doha (near Mall of Qatar)
- 40,000 capacity
6. KHALIFA INTERNATIONAL STADIUM (read more here in our special FIFA Primer by Best Life Qatar)
- Aspire, 5km west of central Doha (near Villaggio Mall)
- 40,000 capacity (renovated and upgraded to capacity of 45,416)
5. AL THUMAMA STADIUM (read more here in our special FIFA Primer by Best Life Qatar)
- Al Thumama, 12km south of central Doha
- 40,000 capacity
8. STADIUM 974 (read more here in our special FIFA Primer by Best Life Qatar)
- Ras Abu Aboud, 10km east of central Doha (near Hamad International Airport)
- 40,000 capacity
TICKET RANGE is from QR 40 | USD 10 to as high as QR 1,550 | USD 425
Available online thru: https://www.fifa.com/fifaplus/en/tournaments/mens/worldcup/qatar2022/tickets
ACCOMMODATIONS IN QATAR
Qatar’s historic hosting of the FIFA World Cup this year hopes to bring over 1.2 million visitors, according to a news article.
This tiny gulf state with a land area of 11,610 km² (approximately 10% the size of New York), with less than 3 million population as of September 2022, was initially faced with a challenge on accommodation due to the expected influx of sports fans and visitors during the World Cup event. But the organizing committee was able to manage and organize a range of exciting and truly unique accommodation options available to book online:
1. CRUISE SHIP HOTELS (read more here in our special FIFA Primer by Best Life Qatar)
- MSC World Europa – 2633staterooms (Prices from QAR 1,240.00 | USD 347.47 per unit/per night)
- MSC Poesia – 1,265 cabins (Prices from QAR 640.00 | USD 179.34 per unit/per night)
Location: Grand Cruise Terminal in West Bay, Doha
2. FAN VILLAGES
- Fan Village Qetaifan Island North near LUSAIL STADIUM (Prices from QAR 740.00 | USD 207.36 per unit/per night)
- Fan Village Cabins Free Zone near STADIUM974 | AL THUMAMA | AL JANOUB STADIUMS (Prices from QAR 740.00 | USD 207.36 per unit/per night)
- Fan Village Al Khor near AL BAYT STADIUM (Prices from QAR 1,512.00 | USD 423.69 per unit/per night)
- Fan Village Cabins Rawdat Al Jahhaniya near AHMAD BIN ALI STADIUM (Prices from QAR 740.00 | USD 207.36 per unit/per night)
- Fan Village Cabins Zafaran near LUSAIL STADIUM (Prices from QAR 740.00 | USD 207.36 per unit/per night)
- Fan Village Caravan City (Prices from QAR 407.00 | USD 114.05)
- Fan Village Heenat Salma Farm (Prices from QAR 7,312.00 | USD 2,048.97)
3. APARTMENTS AND VILLAS
- Several flats and villas around Doha are being transformed into serviced apartments to accommodate fans and guests who require a larger space from 1 to 6 bedrooms with full kitchens, living rooms, and other home comforts. Check out the different properties here.
- (Prices starting from QAR 300.00 | USD 84.07 per unit/per night)
- Different hotels in Downtown Doha, Al Sadd, West Bay, The Pearl, and Lusail area will be accepting guests who are looking for exclusive and world-class amenities. Check out the different properties here.
- (Prices starting from QAR 561.00 | USD 157.20 per unit/per night)
TRANSPORTATION IN QATAR
What probably took a lot of construction works for the past few years in Qatar are roads and Metro projects. The Al-Majd Road, which links highways throughout the country, was opened to the public in a ceremony held in July 2019. The Doha Metro, Qatar’s first-ever underground railway system has opened to the public in phases from 2019 to 2020 for all three lines.
According to the official website www.qatar2022.qa, here is the key transport information for residents and visitors during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™:
- Local residents should use private transportation to get to tournament venues and are encouraged to drive where possible
- Visitors are encouraged to use the Doha Metro and public bus services
- Direct bus services will be operational to stadiums from five locations around Doha and key accommodation sites
Accordingly, ticket holders can use their Hayya Card and Hayya to Qatar 2022 app for free travel on public transport including the metro, tram, public buses, and tournament bus services unlimited free travel from 10 November to 23 December, 2022. This makes mobility for all fans absolutely FREE.
1. DOHA METRO: Most of the metro stations are within walking distance away from the stadiums. In some cases, Metro shuttle buses are available to and from the stadiums. The Doha Metro will run until 3 AM every day during tournament time.
- RED LINE – Al Bayt Stadium (Lusail QNB Metro Station + Shuttle Bus), Lusail Stadium (Lusail Station), Al Thumama Stadium (Free Zone Metro Station), Al Janoub Stadium (Al Wakra Station)
- GOLD LINE – Khalifa International Stadium (Sport City Metro Station), Stadium 974 (Ras Bu Abboud Metro Station)
- GREEN LINE – Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium (Al Riffa Mall of Qatar Metro Station), Education City Stadium (Education City Metro Station)
2. METRO SHUTTLE BUSES: The bus service start 4 hours before kick-off and end 1.5 hours after the final whistle. Allow an average of 25 minutes for the bus journey. From the drop-off area, it is an average of a 15-minute walk to the stadium.
Metrolink is a feeder bus network providing first and last mile connectivity to Qatar Rail customers within 2 to 5 kilometre radius of the Doha Metro stations (check this for METRO LINK route).
3. STADIUM EXPRESS BUSES: This is the fastest way to get to the stadium! This service will operate from dedicated Stadium Express Bus Hubs from central Doha and accommodation sites to Al Bayt Stadium, bringing fans a minimum of a 20-minute walk from the stadium. Buses start running 4 hours before match kick-off and stop 1.5 hours after the final whistle. The last bus before the match will depart the Bus Hub 1 hour before kick-off. Click this link for a quick bus guide.
- Barwa Madinatna
- Souq Waqif – North
- FIFA Fan Festival™
- West Bay
- Barwa Barahat Al Janoub
3. PUBLIC CARS: The drop-off and pick-up area is a minimum of a 25-minute walk to the stadium. This area will open 4 hours before match kick-off and close 1.5 hours after the final whistle. Use the Hayya to Qatar 2022 app to find pick-up/ drop-off locations.
- Karwa Taxi
4. PRIVATE & RENT A CAR: Residents and locals are encouraged to drive to the stadiums. Parking space is located close to the stadium. These car parks will open 4 hours before kick-off and close 1.5 hours after the final whistle. Accessible parking options will be available
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN QATAR
Even prior to the staging of FIFA WORLD CUP 2022, works to make Qatar an ideal destination for tourists are already being undertaken starting with the opening of Hamad International Airport in 2014.
The world’s newest aviation hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA) is also home to Qatar Airways – the nation’s flag carrier. Both were named “Best Airport in the World” for the second year in a row (2021-2022) and ‘Airline of the Year’ for an unprecedented seventh time (from 2011-2022), respectively, by the prestigious Skytrax awards. And to further boost tourism in the country, Qatar launched a very unique program sometime in 2017 up to the present which features Free Transit Visa and Stopover Packages (details here) to make the most of everyone’s short transit or stopover by exploring the city’s attractions and culture.
Additionally, works to develop new cultural and tourism destinations also began including the opening of Qatar National Museum in 2019, Msheireb Downtown Doha in 2021, Lusail City, and Qetaifan island in 2022, to name a few.
1. FIFA-RELATED ATTRACTIONS (source: Time Out Doha)
2. NON-FIFA-RELATED ATTRACTIONS
- MUSEUMS IN QATAR (read more here from our special features at http://www.bestlifeqatar.com)
- MALLS IN QATAR (read more here from our special features at http://www.bestlifeqatar.com)
- TOURIST SPOTS IN QATAR (read more here from our special features at http://www.bestlifeqatar.com)
OTHER THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
With so many things that are going on, here are some of the basic things that we want visitors to consider while in Qatar during the FIFA WORLD CUP 2022.
1. HAAYA CARD
At the request of the Qatari authorities, ticketholders are reminded that all local and international fans must apply for a digital Hayya Card. This is your entry permit to the State of Qatar, your stadium access (along with your match ticket), and even for FREE RIDE on metro and shuttle buses. International fans will also need to confirm their accommodation plans to receive final approval on their digital Hayya Card.
To apply for Hayya, and to book accommodation, please visit Qatar2022.qa or download the Hayya to Qatar 2022 app (available for iOS, Android, and Huawei).
The Hayya Card is operated by the government of the State of Qatar. FIFA is not responsible for its application process, issuance and/or use. For any questions about Hayya Card please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.2022 (Qatar) or (+974) 4441.2022 (International). For any questions about accommodation bookings, please contact email@example.com
2. QATARI RIYALS AND CARD TRANSACTIONS
The official currency of Qatar is Qatari Riyals (Qr1 = USD0.27) which is the major currency that’s accepted in all establishments around the country (read here for more about the new Qatari Riyal banknotes). However, major card transactions are also honored like Mastercard, VISA Card, and American Express Card.
3. ON-GOING COVID PROTOCOLS
Travelers arriving in Qatar must download on their mobile phone devices and activate the Ehteraz app upon arrival at Qatar’s entry ports. Ehteraz is Qatar’s contact tracing app which provides live status of each person’s current COVID-19 health and vaccination status, and even the current COVID-19 cases and other updates in Qatar (click here to know more about Ehteraz).
As of recent development, masks will only be needed inside health facilities. All employees and workers whose nature of work requires being present in closed places and communicating with customers need to wear masks during their work. In addition, travelers are allowed to present a negative rapid antigen test instead of a PCR test when entering the country. Here’s the complete Covid-19 travel and return policy for international FIFA World Cup fans.
4. EMERGENCY HOTLINE NUMBERS
Emergency Service No. 999 receives your urgent calls in several languages round the clock. Other useful numbers may be accessed here.
Credits to Peninsula Qatar as one of the major sources of news articles for this blog post.