World Cup 2022: When is it taking place and why is Qatar hosting?

Fan holding a Qatar football scarf

When Qatar 2022 kicks off in November, it will be the first World Cup finals to be held in the Middle East or to take place at this time of year.

The decision to hold the competition in Qatar has attracted a great deal of controversy.

When is the 2022 World Cup and how hot will it be?

The World Cup finals are being held between 21 November and 18 December - when the temperature in Qatar usually reaches 25C (77F).

Had the finals been held in June and July, as they normally are, the matches would have been played in temperatures exceeding 40C and possibly reaching 50C.

Qatar initially proposed that it would host the finals during the summer in air-conditioned enclosed stadiums, but the plan was rejected.

Chart showing the average monthly temperature in Doha, Qatar

What's difficult about holding the World Cup later?

November and December are busy months for European football clubs. Many leading players will be called up to play for their countries at Qatar 2022.

European leagues including England's Premier League, Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga are suspending their seasons a week ahead of the international tournament.

Matches will restart after the competition has ended.

Life in Qatar: 85% foreign workers' 24.7% population female (lowest in the world); 99.2% live in a city; hereditary monarchy; controls 13% of global oil reserves; GDP per capital (2020), $50,124; same-sex relationships are illegal; alcohol restricted in public places; strict laws on public behaviour.

Why was Qatar chosen as the World Cup host?

In 2010, Qatar clinched the rights to the World Cup after winning a ballot of Fifa's 22 executive members. It defeated bids from USA, South Korea, Japan and Australia .

It is the first Arab nation to host the tournament.

Qatar was accused of paying Fifa officials £3m ($3.7m) in bribes to secure their backing, but was cleared after a two-year investigation.

At the time, Fifa's then-chairman, Sepp Blatter, supported Qatar's bid, but has since said the organisation may have made the wrong decision.

Mr Blatter is currently on trial in Switzerland on fraud, embezzlement and other corruption charges.

Map and satellite images of Qatar's eight stadiums

Qatar has also faced allegations from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch about the poor treatment of foreign workersexternal-link who have been building World Cup facilities.

Which teams are playing at the World Cup, and who are the favourites?

Qualification for the 2022 World Cup began three years ago.

Teams from different continents played in groups, and the top teams advanced through to the finals, with others gaining their place through play-offs.

World Cup groups

The 2018 World Cup winners France made it through, but current European champions Italy failed to qualify.

For the finals, the 32 teams were drawn into eight groups of four. Teams from the same continent were kept apart - except for European countries, where a maximum of two could be in any one group.

Brazil, England, France and Spain are the current bookmakers' favourites to win the tournament.

Sweden football fan holding two pints of beer
In Qatar alcohol can normally only be bought in bars in luxury hotels

What can World Cup fans expect in Qatar?

Qatar, which has a population of 2.9 million, is one of the world's wealthiest countries thanks to oil and gas exports.

It has built seven stadiums specifically for the tournament, and an entire new city which will stage the final match.

More than 100 new hotels, a new metro and new roads are also being constructed.

The tournament's organising committee estimates that 1.5 million people will attend the finals.

Qatar is a conservative Muslim country, and fans have been warned to be careful about their behaviour.

There are severe restrictions on drinking alcohol. It can normally be bought only in bars in luxury hotels. A pint of beer can cost £10 ($13).

However, the organisers say alcohol may be sold in designated fan zones during the tournament.

Graphic showing fans' accommodation in Qatar: 60,000 rooms in apartments and villas, 50,000 rooms in hotels, 9,000 beds in fan villages and 4,000 rooms on cruise ships

What is Qatar's record on gay rights?

Homosexual acts are illegal in Qatar.

Groups representing gay football fans have asked the Qatar government to "guarantee their safety".

Some Wales fans have said they will boycott the tournament despite their team's qualification.

The World Cup's organisers have replied that "everyone is welcome", but confirmed that Qatar will not relax its laws on homosexuality during the event.