How Hot Is It in Qatar During the World Cup?

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is kicking off in Qatar on Sunday, and it is expected to be one of the hottest major sporting events ever.

The World Cup will be the first held during winter in the northern hemisphere, in a bid to avoid playing in Qatari summer temperatures exceeding an average of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celcius). Nevertheless, searing heat and humidity could still test players and fans during their stay in the Persian Gulf.

Temperatures are expected to hover between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 33 degrees Celcius) at the height of the day for the first two weeks of the competition, according to BBC Weather.

Replica of the FIFA World Cup trophy
A replica of the FIFA World Cup trophy at the Al Zubarah Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Madinat ash Shamal, Qatar. The World Cup will be the first to be held during the winter in the northern hemisphere. Getty

In a bid to mitigate the effect of the heat on players, group-stage matches will be held between 1 p.m. and 10 p.m. local time.

During the 10 p.m. kick-offs, temperatures will consistently be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celcius). But the humidity will make it feel like 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celcius).

In preparation for its opening game against Wales, the U.S. team has been observed training during the evening.

Group rivals England has taken to training at the Al-Wakrah Sports Club during midday in a bid to acclimatize to the heat, according to The Guardian.

FIFA's decision to move the typical time frame for the World Cup from the summer months to winter, in order to allow Qatar to hold the event, has been heavily criticized since it was awarded to the country in 2010.

Despite the 2022 World Cup being the first to be held during the northern hemisphere's winter, there have been other major soccer tournaments held in similar temperatures.

During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, only two matches were held above 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celcius), according to a 2017 study from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil.

Matches during the 1990 World Cup in Italy were held between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. in order to avoid the Mediterannean summer heat that soared beyond 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celcius.)

Newsweek has contacted FIFA and Marty Bell, chief science officer at Weatherflow for comment.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup has attracted criticism over the treatment of LGBT people in host country Qatar, where same-sex relationships are banned by law.

Qatar has also faced condemnation for the treatment of migrant workers in the country, some of whom have died while building stadiums for the World Cup. FIFA President Gianni Infantino tried to address criticism of the country during a bizarre speech on Saturday.

During a press conference in Doha, he said: "Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arabic. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel [like] a migrant worker."

While the speech appeared to attempt to show Infantino's solidarity with marginalized groups, it was met with a wave of criticism.

Henry Winter, chief football writer for The Times sports desk said: "Gianni Infantino's mad monologue made King Lear look balanced.

There was also some last-minute confusion on Friday when Qatar announced they would ban the sale of beer in the stadiums holding the football games.