Travelers who want to attend an exciting sporting event should look into the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Here’s what they need to know to decide if this is an event they want to attend.
The World Cup is a soccer (or football) tournament that takes place every 4 years. The winner is considered the best team in the world. This is the most popular sporting event around the world. People from all countries watch it on television. A lucky few actually get to watch a World Cup game in person. Some people travel for the tournament every 4 years.
World Cup qualifications are complicated. For instance, the team from the host country always qualifies automatically, even if they would not otherwise do so. There are 6 other confederations around the world. Each one gets a certain number of qualifying slots based on overall population, number of teams, and other factors. Each confederation handles qualification slightly differently. The key is that teams play each other and get points for wins or draws. The teams with the most points get the qualification slots for that confederation.
Getting World Cup tickets is not hard, but the process is not necessarily straightforward. People who want tickets need to apply through the FIFA World Cup website. One household cannot get more than 6 tickets per match or 60 tickets throughout the tournament. People who submit requests for more tickets than that risk having all of their ticket requests denied, so it’s important to ensure compliance with this rule. In addition, it is easier for people to get tickets to see their home country play than it is to get tickets to see other countries play.
If a person’s application is successful, they will be issued one of several types of tickets. Supporter tickets are for people who are citizens of a country and fans of that team. These are tickets for first-round matches that will definitely include that team. Conditional supporter tickets are for people who want to see a game IF their home country is playing. If the team doesn’t make it that far, these tickets will not be formally issued. There are also standard tickets. These are for attending a certain game, regardless of who is playing in it.
For instance, people can buy tickets to see the World Cup final whether their team makes it there or not. There are also tickets available on resale sites. However, these usually go for significantly more than face value. People who purchase these tickets also need to ensure that they are buying valid tickets. Ticket scammers like to use these websites.
The Hayya Card is essential for entering stadiums for the World Cup. It is issued by Qatar and not affiliated with FIFA at all. The Card is necessary for entering Qatar, if the sole purpose of entry is attending the World Cup. It also secures travelers free public transport to and from games to which they have tickets. In order to get a Hayya Card, fans must already have their tickets. They must also be able to prove that they have secured accommodation in Qatar for the duration of their stay. Travelers can apply for the Hayya Card online or through the Hayya app. They must have their card in hand (electronically) before they attempt to enter Qatar.
Qatar has specific rules and regulations in place for COVID-19. Travelers will need to make sure they know what these are and remain in compliance with them at all times. These rules are subject to change, so travelers should check them regularly. That way, they can avoid problems in Qatar. Entry rules for Qatar depend on where a traveler is coming from and whether they are vaccinated and/or recently recovered from COVID.
Nearly all travelers will need to submit PCR test results taken within 48 hours of departing their home country. Some may need to get additional testing in Qatar or quarantine there. Visitors should make sure they arrive in Qatar with plenty of time to comply with any quarantine laws that pertain to them. Those required to quarantine in a hotel will need to purchase a quarantine package directly from Qatar and show proof that they have done this. Qatar may require travelers to wear masks, practice social distancing, and comply with other COVID rules while in the country.
While there are some rental vehicles available in Qatar, the country encourages the use of public transportation or taxis instead. Driving in Qatar can be confusing and the rules may be different than what some travelers are used to. All of the stadiums for the World Cup are in and around Doha, Qatar’s capital city. They are roughly within an hour of one another, so travel around the country will not be necessary. The Hayya Card secures free public transportation to and from matches. As long as travelers can show their card and their tickets, they qualify for this.
Bus schedules will be made available closer to the World Cup, and should be available in multiple languages for international travelers. Travelers can book their accommodations through Qatar’s official World Cup website, or through other portals online. They will need to book these well in advance, particularly if they have specific needs or want to stay in specific locations. Qatar says that it has enough hotel rooms for all of the visitors that the World Cup will bring in. However, some people wonder if this is true. There are a wide variety of hotels available, from luxury options to budget choices. Some hotels are brand new, having been built specifically for the World Cup.
Overall, Qatar is a safe country for foreigners to visit. However, the World Cup brings in a lot of people and, therefore, it’s important to take some safety precautions. Travelers should avoid moving about Qatar alone whenever possible, especially at night. When out at night, they should stick to public places that are well-lit and where there are other people. Travelers should also take care with their personal belongings, as the World Cup tends to bring out pickpockets and other petty criminals.
They may want to wear their valuables close to their body in special pouches. They should also only carry what they need with them at any given time. Everyone visiting Qatar, both men and women, should take care to dress modestly. They should cover their shoulders and knees whenever possible, even when it’s hot outside. Swimwear, especially for women, is not permitted in public places, even beaches. Female travelers may prefer to use private beaches, pools, or spas for this reason. Speaking of heat, travelers need to make sure they carry plenty of water with them at all times. Qatar can get warm, even in the winter, and hydration is key.
Drinking alcohol is not illegal in Qatar, but it is also not encouraged. Travelers will only find bars at upscale hotels that cater to international travelers. They should refrain from public drinking and public drunkenness, as this can have significant consequences in Qatar. Qatar may develop “tourist zones” inside stadiums where alcohol will be available. However, drinking here will cost quite a bit more so travelers should be prepared for that.
Respecting the local culture not only helps travelers avoid problems, but it also helps them honor the country that is hosting the World Cup. As mentioned above, dressing modestly and controlling drinking alcohol are two ways that tourists can show their respect to Qatar. Additionally, travelers should avoid public displays of affection and should refrain from doing anything that interrupts the periodic calls to prayer. Men should not talk to Qatari women unless invited to do so.
Qatari women will be more likely to help other women, so parties that include a female should let her do the talking in some situations. They should also refrain from taking photos of government buildings and officials. If they want photos of mosques or religious leaders, they should get permission before they take them. Similarly, anyone taking photos of women or elderly people should get permission before they do so. Photos should avoid including Qataris as much as possible. If travelers are offered coffee, tea, or food while they are in Qatar, they should always accept. Refusing these is rude.
Travelers with dietary constraints should learn how to communicate those in Arabic or use an app to communicate that, so hosts can accommodate them or understand their refusal. As in many Gulf countries, travelers should avoid showing anyone the bottom of their foot, as this is an insult. Similarly, they should never eat with their left hand, only their right. Finally, travelers should avoid staring while in Qatar, as this is also rude. Qatar is looking forward to hosting the World Cup as much as travelers are looking forward to being there. It’s not too long now before that first match starts!