The 2018 FIFA World Cup is now in the books, and what a tournament it was. People who aren't even fans of the beautiful game took time out of their day to sit down and watch, proving once and for all what a global phenomenon the tournament is and will always be. There were certainly problems, there's no getting away from that - but in equal measure, there were moments that left us on the edge of our seats for 90 minutes at a time.
As the dust settles it's time to look ahead to the next edition of the event, which will be held in Qatar in 2022, following the usual four-year cycle. It's set to be a landmark showcase for more reasons than we can count, but in order to play both sides of the field, we thought that a list summarising 10 pros and 10 cons regarding a possible trip out to Qatar for the WC would be appropriate.
Nobody's mind is going to be made up purely by reading through this list, but the hope is that it provides a balanced and fair viewpoint on what Qatar has to offer and what makes it a country that is best left unvisited. The World Cup is special and as such, a special nation needs to be able to host everything that comes with it.
So as you begin your post-World Cup blues phase before the domestic season finally gets underway in August, take a minute or two to consider whether or not heading over to Qatar in four years time is in your best interests.
20 (Book your WC trip for) The Spectacle
This entry really does speak for itself in more ways than one. Look, we all know that there are many factors associated with running and participating in a successful World Cup on both sides of the coin. Despite that, however, nothing can ever get in the way of what a spectacle the event really is.
From the big festivities to the actual games themselves, it's a larger than life occasion that brings together people from all different walks of life. The grandeur of something like this can't be understated, even though some critics may be inclined to play it down.
19 (Book your WC trip for) The Bucket List
Bucket lists can come in all different shapes and sizes, and they're great things to have for people who want to set goals and achieve them in a reasonable time frame or, at the very least, before their sun sets. The World Cup, especially for sports fans, is often at the top of many lists.
We've all experienced what it's like to watch the WC as a kid, cheering on our nation regardless of whether or not they stand a chance at winning. Actually attending proceedings seems like such an unattainable goal, until you grow up and realise it's a distinct possibility.
18 (Book your WC trip for) Nice People
Many people reading this have been on many adventures over the years in the form of travel. They've gone around the world exploring new locations and different cultures, and for the most part, they're met by pleasant individuals from each respective homeland.
Alas, that isn't always the case, which makes it all the more exciting to consider that the people of Qatar are said to be rather pleasant. While every country has people who you'd rather not run into, in Qatar, you'll likely be able to feel safe in the knowledge that it's a pretty peaceful country for the most part, who will be welcoming to fresh faces.
17 (Book your WC trip for) The Stadiums
The aesthetic of any given tournament is important, because you want to have great sights and sounds to portray to viewing audiences around the globe. In Qatar that likely won't be an issue, with the nation building a handful of new stadiums that'll be ready in time for 2022.
Many of them seem very 'out there' and 'over the top', but in all honesty, that's probably one of the reasons why they wound up winning the hosting rights. From a visual perspective, it's going to be like the 2002 World Cup all over again, and that's hardly a bad thing.
16 (Book your WC trip for) The Excellent Precedent Russia Has Set
As we mentioned in the introduction, the 2018 FIFA World Cup has come and gone - and for the most part, it went pretty well. The main source of worry ahead of things kicking off was the fact that Russia were the hosts, with the nation being seen as a 'taboo' location of sorts.
Alas, that couldn't have been any further from the truth, with many foreigners reporting that they felt completely safe throughout their entire stay in the country. That's extremely reassuring for those who want to visit one day, and given that the same concerns have been raised for Qatar, it seems as if people shouldn't be worrying quite so much.
15 (Book your WC trip for) An escape from winter
One of the big changes that this World Cup will experience will be the fact that it'll be held in November and December as opposed to the traditional June and July. While there are negatives associated with this (which we'll come onto later in the article), at the end of the day, it gives northern hemisphere fans an excuse to have a holiday in the winter months.
That's not a luxury that everyone gets to have especially given how busy work schedules can be around the holidays, but if you take the time off in advance, then you'll be able to fly away to watch some football while your friends & family are back home in the pouring rain and freezing temperatures.
14 (Book your WC trip for) The hot, hot, hot Weather
Speaking of which, let's talk about the weather. Despite the event taking place so late in the year, you'll still be able to top up your tan and throw on some suncream because the odds are that it'll be extremely hot from the minute you arrive until the minute you leave.
The weather is the whole reason why it was moved from the summer months in the first place, opening the door for you to pack those t-shirts and shorts that you've been eager to wear for months on end. The World Cup needs to be held somewhere hot, and this certainly fits the bill.
13 (Book your WC trip for) The World’s Best Players
The World Cup is about a lot of things, but most of all, it's about the actual football on the pitch. Regardless of what happens in qualifying, more often than not, the best players in world football take part in the tournament's proceedings.
While it may seem unlikely right now given their ages, it's entirely possible that you'll get to witness Neymar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo all doing what they do best in Qatar. If not, then you'll almost certainly get to see the next batch of superstars creating history as so many have done this year in Russia.
12 (Book your WC trip for) Beautiful Beaches
Qatar doesn't jump off the page as a beach location, but believe it or not, there are actually a handful of fantastic beaches to be found in their major cities. It's not like you'll be catching the same kind of waves as you would be in popular surf destinations, but that's not what it's about.
Wherever you go that's hot, you'll be aiming to find some kind of relaxation whereby you can enjoy the temperature in a nice setting. Beaches are, of course, perfect for that, and Qatar serves as something of a combo-breaker for the many stereotypes that are associated with that part of the planet.
11 (Book your WC trip for) futuristic Architecture
The architecture of any given location may not seem as important to some people as it is to others, but when it comes to Qatar and Doha, in particular, the skyline is so beautiful that it's really quite difficult not to stop and take notice of it in some way.
The surroundings that we have, no matter where we are on Earth, make us feel alive in some way, shape or form. You could argue that Qatar often resembles some kind of futuristic setting that holds no rival anywhere else around the world, and even if you disagree with that, you still need to go there and experience it for yourself.
10 (Skip because of) The Huge Divide
We move onto the negatives or 'cons' now, and while some of these may seem a little heavy, they need to be spoken about if we're going to fairly compare and contrast the two sides of the coin. First off, we come to the huge divide between rich and poor people living in Qatar.
It's not something that's unknown or taboo, but it is one of the sore spots on an otherwise fascinating nation. In terms of the actual locations involved, one minute you could be driving through a very nice neighbourhood and then the next, it's like you're in a different world. These things need to be addressed.
9 (Skip because) We'd rather have gone to Australia/USA/Japan/South Korea
While it’s all well and good that Qatar is a ‘new’ location for people to visit, it doesn’t really stack up with the other contenders. The United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia were all in the running, but were somehow outvoted in favor of Qatar.
The sandy beaches of Australia or the many sights and sounds of NYC and LA would’ve far exceeded Qatar, and the 2002 World Cup proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Korea and Japan are great destinations in their own right. It’s not like Qatar has absolutely nothing to offer, but just look at the possible alternatives that were available.
8 (Skip because of) The treatment of the workers
This is an issue that has been spoken about many, many times over the years, and will continue to be spoken about until the day the World Cup in Qatar comes to an end. There have been numerous reports suggesting that there's some dodgy stuff that has occurred, particularly for the workers who are building the stadiums.
There are some serious allegations and they have been treated as such. Amnesty International has detailed several of these problems, and we hope for the sake of everyone involved that something is done if these allegations wind up proving to be true.
7 (Skip because of) The lack of Downtown
This entry is mainly catered towards Doha in particular, which will obviously be the main city involved in hosting the tournament. It turns out that, for the most part, there's no real 'downtown area' which is often the place in most cities which is considered to be the central hub for all forms of entertainment.
It's quite spread out and the same goes for most of Qatar, which is a shame, given that the World Cup is all about bringing people together. While many fans will likely still be able to have a good time in some way, shape or form, unity is a big part of it and having a good downtown location in the cities is somewhat key.
6 (Skip because of) Poor Atmospheres
Qatar is hardly known for being a sports country at all, let alone for their football prowess. With Russia, Brazil and South Africa in the last three editions of the tournament, you at least knew that you were going to get some incredible atmospheres. With Qatar, that isn't necessarily the case.
The amount of people travelling over from other nations isn't a guarantee by any stretch of the imagination, and it's not like the people of Qatar have a background of being incredibly energetic at events like this. If you're spending all that money to get over there, you'll want a memorable experience.
5 (Skip because of) Location
It doesn't matter where you are in the world, because Qatar is a difficult country to get to. Location wise it isn't exactly as financially viable as heading over to Europe, and we're including those over in the Americas in that. It's not necessarily a deal breaker, but it can make for a few stressful months of planning for some people.
Putting it in Europe is always a safe option due to the practicality of it all, but FIFA doesn't seem all too interested in investing in that idea. Perhaps the system needs a bit of a switch-up because this is one of the big complaints behind Qatar being awarded the whole thing in the first place.
4 (Skip because of) The Break In Tradition
We spoke about how the addition of a 'winter World Cup' in place of the summer World Cup could be seen as a good thing, but as well as that, there are negatives associated with it too. Firstly - a summer without a World Cup and any real form of football action just feels wrong.
Secondly, it'll completely disrupt the flow of the European leagues and the English Premier League in particular. We all want the World Cup to feel like a separate entity to domestic football, not some kind of throwaway competition for a few weeks that is soon forgotten about.
3 (Skip because of) The Assignment Controversy
It's not a secret that there have been rumours surrounding the legitimacy of Qatar being awarded the World Cup. It happened back in 2010 when, seemingly, there was a parade of other options that would've been better suited to hosting football's finest tournament.
An investigation made by FIFA themselves ended with the organisation declaring Qatar were cleared of any wrongdoing, which is a bit odd given that FIFA themselves were accused of foul play, too. The whole thing is fishy, and it's just the wrong kind of vibe to have for a World Cup.
2 (Skip because of) the Poor Drivers
You'll have come to expect poor driving anywhere you go, and particularly your local town or city. It's just the way things are, and not everyone can be perfect when it comes to getting on the roads. However - in Qatar, it's on a whole new level.
Many travellers have noted that they seem to drive as if they're taking part in the new Fast and Furious movie, with many using the traffic light system as more of a guideline than anything else. You could always walk around the cities, but it's not quite as viable as other options that are available.
1 (Skip because of) The Shorter duration
The fact that there are just a few days between the length of the 2018 World Cup and the 2022 World Cup may not seem like something that's a 'big deal' to some, but in reality, it could be the difference between whether someone makes the trip over or not.
Heading over for the duration of the tournament is something that many, many fans around the globe like to do, and they'll have to cut their planned holiday short if they've done so in past tournaments in comparison to now. With Copa America and the European Championships on the horizon, too, there are other options available.