Why the 2022 Qatar World Cup is taking place in winter and not summer

The Qatar 2022 World Cup is less than 100 days away and the excitement is already building up ahead of the highly-anticipated competition.

There will be a lot of firsts this time around and this particular edition promises to leave a great mark in the competition’s history. For starters, the World Cup taking place in Qatar will mean this would be the first time the competition will be held in the Middle East.

More interestingly though, is the fact that the World Cup will be held in winter months, with a November start and a December finish, away from the usual summer timeframe in June-July.

While changes will come in full swing, it is business as usual for bettors who are already preparing their best World Cup 2022 tips ahead of the competition. But before we get to that, let’s shed more light on why the Qatar 2022 tournament will be played at a rather ‘strange’ time of the year.

Why the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be played in November-December

To start with, FIFA’s decision to take the World Cup to the Middle East came from their resolution to have held the competition in all geo-regions before 2030.

But many questions started to arise when Qatar seemingly beat other sides with their bids and emerged as the next hosts for the World Cup.

The big question in this case came in the form of; how can Qatar host the World Cup or rather when would they host it.

Going all the way back to 2014 and 2015, two feasibility studies by FIFA which took place in Qatar, had already showed that the tournament was not suitable to be played between the usual June-July slots.

This is because the temperature levels at that time of the year in Qatar would be rather unbearable and make games almost impossible to play. 

Infact, the domestic top flight in Qatar takes place from September to April, and they also avoid the summer slots due to excessive heatwaves in that period. It has been recorded that average temperatures at the end of April could reach 35 C.

Taking all of that into account, FIFA decided to shake things up and declare that the competition would take place in November for the first time in history

As part of the Qatar 2022 bid team’s efforts to tackle the heat and humidity concerns,  even in winter months, each of the eight World Cup stadiums will be stacked with a ‘focused cooling’ air-conditioning system.

What are the temperature levels in Qatar like?

By nature, Qatar is a naturally hot and humid country and temperatures could average between 21-25 C compared to over 37 C during summer periods.

The table below gives an average overview of what the temperature looks like in the country, using the Doha region as a case study.

Average temperatures in Doha/Qatar (based on 2021 data)
 Average temp in °F/°C 
January 77/25
June 96/35

How has the public reacted to a November-December World Cup?

As one would expect, this has not gone down well with many, as the new schedule will affect a lot in terms of planning and travelling. Being closer to Christmas periods, there could also be an unnecessary increase in price of tickets and this could make the Qatar 2022 World Cup more ‘expensive’ than usual.

Narrowing it down further, a source at ESPN claimed that a host of top European clubs are disappointed at FIFA for deciding to stick with their decision to host the competition in November. Several clubs were openly against the idea and even sent out their concerns but the world football controlling body stood their ground.

Clubs will now hold on to their players for as late as possible before releasing them for international duty. This will come as a big disadvantage for coaches, who would now be left with only a short period to train and get their team in full shape after they report for international duty.

How will the November-December World Cup affect domestic leagues?

The impact of this timing will boomerang on a lot but domestic leagues in Europe and across the World will be the ones most affected. Fixtures will now have to be rushed to accommodate the mid-season ‘interruption’ and this could mean players are stretched to the limit and could ultimately have little to no time to rest in the 2022/23 campaign.

Despite all the criticism FIFA re facing, the competition is still set to go on in November and fans can only anxiously wait to see whether a first World Cup in November would go on to be successful.