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Qatar’s Footballing History (or the Lack Thereof)


Ever since the hosting privileges were bestowed to Qatar, the tournament has been plagued with several controversies. One of the main issues was the lack of real football history in the minuscule country.

As a result, a lot of football experts and fans have qualms over the capability of Qatar to host such a huge sporting event as the World Cup. 

A controversial winning bid

In 2010, Qatar has won the bidding for the rights to be the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Among the contenders in the bidding process are the USA, Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

awarding of hosting bid to Qatar

Eleven years later, Qatar is now more than ready to open the country for the quadrennial footballing event. Tickets for the tournament were already sold-out, hotel accommodations within the city of Doha were already booked, and flights in and out of the country were also scheduled.

Additionally, allegations of bribery surfaced immediately after Qatar was announced as the host of the worldcup22 during that time. According to the reports, Mohamed Bin Hammam, the President of the Asian Football Confederation paid SGD 286,913 to several football officials most of them from Africa to vote for Qatar to win the bidding rights.

Mohammed Bin Hammam

Qatar’s football history

One of the issues surrounding the FIFA World Cup aside from human rights violations is the inadequacy of football history and sporting infrastructures in Qatar. 

Football was already being played in Qatar since 1948, back then no authority presides over the footballing events in the country. The first football matches were organized by oil plant workers. Although, the first football club was called Al-Najah which was later renamed Al Ahli SC.

The Football Association of Qatar was established in 1960. The league matches were being played at Doha Sports Stadium. Qatar was qualified to play in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. 

Doha Sports Stadium

Nowadays, The Qatari national football team only has a few achievements in the Asian football tournaments but never makes a buzz internationally. Their recent win in the 2019 AFC Cup was their first championship title in the competition ever. This further cemented their place in the 2022 World Cup despite them having automatic qualification due to their hosting privileges. 

Preparations for the quadrennial event

Since 2010, Qatar has been preparing for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In fact, Qatar has spent a whopping amount of SGD 315 billion for the event. Among the expenditures for the World Cup are new stadiums, infrastructures, advertising, accommodation, etc.

According to the experts, the aforementioned amount was considered the biggest expenditure a host country has spent to host a World Cup event. Initially, the lack of footballing stadiums in the country was considered as the main problem in the upcoming tournament. 

However, due to the eagerness of Qatar to showcase their grandeur, they decided to build an eco-city from scratch called Lusail specifically for the World Cup attendees. Additionally, they built several new stadiums to compensate for the lack of new sport structures in the country.

Lusail City

According to the government of Qatar and the organizers of FIFA, they hoped that the 2022 World Cup will be the start of the development of Qatar as a center of football in the Middle-East.


A lot of football enthusiasts have said that Qatar will be the smallest country that host the FIFA World Cup. While Qatar has no impactful football history like Brazil and England, their surely have the means to host a grand sporting event like the World Cup. Even though the tournament is marred by several issues, the anticipation that was built around the tournament is a testament enough that the World Cup will be successful.

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