Profile of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™
Sustainability at the FIFA World Cup

Profile of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™

The FIFA World Cup 2022™ in Qatar is the first to be hosted in the Middle East and the most geographically compact since the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1930. The FIFA World Cup 2022™ is unique in many respects, with the type of opportunities and challenges related to sustainability being no exception.

The FIFA World Cup™ is the biggest single-sport competition in the world. After a preliminary competition, the 32 qualified men’s national football teams compete to become world champions in a final competition staged during one month in a host country selected by FIFA.

It is anticipated that over one million spectators will attend the tournament’s 64 matches, and the competition will reach a global in-home television audience of over 3 billion people, with more than one billion fans tuning in to watch the final match. In addition to the matches, there are a host of other official competition-related events, including draws, team and referee seminars and workshops, opening and closing ceremonies, award ceremonies, cultural events, press conferences and launch events.

Hosting the FIFA World Cup™ often represents a historical milestone and symbolic achievement for the host country, with major implications for local communities, infrastructure development and service provision. It includes the employment and training of thousands of workers and volunteers, the transportation of hundreds of thousands of fans and the protection of people’s health and safety throughout the tournament. The scale and complexity of the tournament can generate significant opportunities for all those involved, but they also present a range of risks that must be effectively managed in order to deliver a successful tournament.

Unique characteristics of the tournament

The FIFA World Cup 2022™, which was awarded to Qatar in December 2010, will be the first FIFA World Cup™ to be hosted in the Middle East. This is a tremendous opportunity for the region to welcome and connect with billions of people from across the globe, showcasing its unique identity and culture and building new bridges of understanding.

The tournament will be held from 21 November to 18 December 2022, when the average temperature in Qatar ranges from 24-28 degrees Celsius. Early in the planning process, the tournament was moved to winter in Qatar, to protect athletes and attendees from the summer heat.

It will also have the most geographically compact footprint in the tournament’s history since the inaugural single-stadium edition in 1930, with all stadiums within 50km of the centre of Qatar’s capital city Doha. This hosting concept means that spectators and players will spend less time travelling and more time enjoying the tournament, and it will create opportunities to centralise the provision of some services and facilities.

A key objective of the FIFA World Cup 2022™ is that it serves as a catalyst for the achievement of Qatar’s long-term development goals as laid out in the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the National Development Strategy 2018-2022.

The tournament organisers

Successful delivery of the FIFA World Cup 2022™ requires the close coordination and collaboration of three primary delivery partners - the tournament organisers - who work closely with a broad range of stakeholders in Qatar and internationally to deliver the tournament.

Sustainability impacts of the tournament

Sustainable development, as defined in the UN’s 1987 report “Our Common Future”, is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It has three main pillars: economic, environmental and social.

The preparation, staging and post-tournament activities of a FIFA World Cup™ can generate a wide range of impacts on the economy, the natural environment and on people and communities, both in the host country and internationally. While many of these impacts are positive, there are also risks of adverse impacts. The FIFA World Cup 2022™ is unique in many respects, with the type of opportunities and challenges related to sustainability being no exception.

Hosting the tournament presents tremendous opportunities for development of local industries, expertise and infrastructure, for innovation and application of world-class standards, and for support of Qatar’s transition to a knowledge-based economy. As with any mega-event, the FIFA World Cup 2022™ also presents risks related to the increased use of limited natural resources and the generation of emissions, as well as to the health, safety and well-being of all people involved in the tournament, including workers, participants, attendees and local communities. We followed a process of extensive stakeholder consultation in order to prioritise the most material areas so as to focus our effort and resources on maximising the sustainability of the tournament.