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Why is the Qatar 2022 World Cup played in November and December and not in summer?

The reasons behind FIFA’s decision to hold the World Cup in late autumn even though it interferes with the calendar of several club competitions.

A worker fixes banners at Souq Waqif, which has been decorated ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 soccer tournament in Doha, Qatar November 11, 2022. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Qatar is geographically located in Western Asia, and the country occupies the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The country shares its only land border with neighboring Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory encircled by the Persian Gulf.

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Qatar has a desert climate. The country experiences long summers from May to September, marked by extreme dry heat, with temperatures rising above 45°C. There are mild winters and sweltering summers. November and early December are identified as part of the mid-season, with temperatures between 21°C and 29°C.

Unbearable heat and well-being

This year’s World Cup has been scheduled in November and December, unlike the regular calendar spot in the summer months of June and July. The reasons behind the decision are to avoid the severe summer heat, as mentioned, is often more than 40°C during that period. FIFA conducted two players’ well-being feasibility studies in Qatar in 2014 and 2015. Both found that the traditional June-July tournament slot was not viable and recommendable from the players’ health perspective.

For the same reason, even the domestic Qatar Stars league is played from September to April.

This radical calendar change provoked domestic and continental club competitions to change their competition agenda and enforced a mid-season interruption for more than a month. No wonder that it was initially met with strong opposition from most competing nations. But FIFA never backed down from its decision to hold a tournament in the Middle East.

High-tech cooling solutions

As an oil-wealthy country, Qatar organizers incorporated the most advanced cooling technologies into its stadiums, further reducing the venues’ temperature. The World Cup stadiums will be equipped with a “focused cooling” air-conditioning system to deal with heat and humidity issues.


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