The 2022 FIFA World Cup is finally here. The World Cup is held in a Middle Eastern country for the first time. The tournament kickstarted on Sunday at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar with a fantastic opening ceremony. The first match saw Ecuador’s 2-0 win over Qatar in the opening match.
While the 2022 FIFA World Cup spans over a month, the tournament has already started making headlines. From what’s permitted, to what’s happening, to even questions about the host nation, here’s everything that has put the Qatar 2022 World Cup in the headlines across the world.
1. A team was escorted to Qatar by fighter jets!
Yes, you read that right. Due to the rising war-related tension in the countries adjoining the Russian border, the soccer team of Poland was flown to Qatar in two heavily guarded F-16 fighter jets. “We were escorted to the southern border of Poland by F16 planes! Thank you and greetings to the pilots!,” the official account of the Polish national team posted on Twitter.
2. Two teams brought more than 1800kgs of meat to the World Cup 2022.
Argentina and Uruguay have made headlines for bringing 2,000 pounds of meat each (900 kilograms) to so that the players and the accompanying staff can have a slice of home during the tournament. “The AUF is a historic ambassador of our country and will take with it another ambassador, which is Uruguayan meat, the best meat in the world,” said the AUF president Ignacio Alonso.
3. Alcohol is a strict no-no.
Qatar has strict rules in place when it comes to alcoholic drinks. Fans and players cannot import alcohol into the country and neither can they buy duty-free alcohol from the airports. While alcohol is available, the country imposes a 100% tax on it. Budweiser has been a FIFA sponsor for over 30 years. This time they won’t be allowed to serve beers in the stadium and fan villages. Only the sale of non-alcoholic beverages is permitted.
4. PDA can land you behind the bars.
As a semi-constitutional monarchy, Qatar has firm rules around pre-marital sex and the public display of affection. Any outlier is considered to be a criminal offence.
5. Denmark will wear “toned down” jerseys for the World Cup 2022.
Initially, Denmark wanted its players to sport a pro-human rights training shirt with the words, ‘Human Rights for All’ emblazoned on it. However, it was rejected by FIFA. Denmark, then, decided to wear jerseys that would send across a message. In a statement, Hummel (the kit provider for the Danish team) said, “we’ve toned down all the details for Denmark’s new World Cup jerseys, including our logo and iconic chevrons.”
6. For the first time, women referees have been selected to officiate at the Men’s World Cup.
Six women have been selected to serve as referees at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. These women will serve as officials and as assistants at the tournament. They passed the same tests as men to qualify for this role.
7. Qatar aims for a carbon-neutral World Cup.
The organizers of the Qatar World Cup 2022 have promised a carbon-neutral tournament where emissions will be lesser when compared to the 2018 World Cup. Environmental groups have expressed their concerns over the claim but FIFA has declared that Qatar 2022 will be the first-ever carbon-neutral World Cup.
8. Stories of bribery are slowly simmering.
Before the first match of the tournament, various reports claimed that eight Ecuadorian players had been bribed in million to lose the opening match against Qatar. However, Ecuador won the match.
9. The One Love Armband
Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Wales, England and Denmark had decided to wear a rainbow armband to show support for LGBTQIA+. However, FIFA has banned this initiative.
This is just the beginning. The FIFA World Cup surely has a lot to offer in the coming weeks.