In just under two months time the FIFA Football World Cup will commence in Qatar with 32 nations competing for the coveted trophy. France are the reigning world champions having beaten Croatia in the 2018 final. However, French nationals will find it hard to follow their country’s potential success as many cities have decreed they will not be showing any matches from Qatar in protest to the country’s human rights violations.
Qatar, along with other Saudi Arabia, has been accused of ‘sportswashing’ - a term used to criticise groups, individuals or in this case governments who use the hosting or involvement in sport as a way of improving reputations tarnished by wrongdoing. In the case of Qatar, their wrongdoing are the human rights violations which according to Amnesty International, include issues pertaining to migrant workers’ rights, freedom of expression, women’s rights and LGBTI people’s rights.
With a few weeks to go until the tournament begins, here is all you need to know about Qatar...
Where is Qatar?
Qatar is a peninsular Arab country in the Persian Gulf with Bahrain to its northwest and the United Arab Emirates to its southeast. Also on the coast is the capital of Qatar, Doha, known for its futuristic skyscrapers and other ultramodern architecture inspired by ancient Islamic design. Qatar’s government is the Unitary Islamic Parliamentary semi-constitutional monarchy and Tamim bin Hamad is the Emir of the country with Khalid bin Khalifa as his Prime Minister.
What is the population of Qatar?
According to an estimate in 2020 by Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, around 2,795,500 people live in Qatar which is an increase of over one million since the 2010 census took place.
The majority of Qataris are Muslim with Islam being the official language and the Islamic population making up 65.5%. Hinduism and Christianity are the next biggest religions with populations of roughly 15.1% and 14.2%. A factbook produced by the CIA in 2012 detailed that the largest ethnic group in the country was Arab, making up around 40% of the population while South Asian was the second largest at 36%.
What is the Qatari flag?
The national flag is maroon with a broad white serrated band on the hoist side. It has nine points in its serration between the maroon and white to symbolise Qatar being the ninth member in Trucial Coast convention. The two colours are meant to symbolise the country’s enthusiasm and dignity as well as inspire admiration for the history of Watar. The flag as we see it today was adopted in 1971, in the wake of the country gaining independence from Britain and when it joined the United Nations.
What is the currency in Qatar?
The currency is the Qatari Riyal. Until 1966, Qatar used the Indian rupee as its currency, in the form of Gulf rupees but when India devalued their currency, Qatar, along with the other states using the Gulf rupee, chose to introduce their own currency. One Qatari Riyal is equivalent to around 25p British Sterling.
When is the FIFA World Cup 2022?
The tournament begins on Sunday 20 November 2022 with an opening match between Qatar and Ecuador. England’s first match takes place on Monday 21 November when they play Iran. It will conclude with the grand finale on Sunday 18 December.