How the 2022 World Cup is emerging from the desert of Qatar

The Club World Cup has been a dry run for the tournament in three years’ timeFirst impressions count and the sight of security staff trying to stop a few drunken Flamengo fans singing football songs at 2am in the hotel lobby was not a great one on arrival here. The Brazilians obliged and went off in search of somewhere else to drink, security returned to the main entrance and check-in proceeded without further incident, but reservations over Qatar’s ability to stage a World Cup – never mind its suitability – had begun. Six days at the Club World Cup have not dispelled them.Qatar is a desert under construction with a global workforce mobilised to build eight stadiums and new infrastructure in time for 2022. The results from the cheap migrant labour are extremely impressive. The new metro system is immaculate – and 40p to ride in a spacious carriage that could pass for first-class in Britain – the completed and even half-built stadia look spectacular and so, too, the hotel complexes that are rising up along the Gulf coast. Continue reading…