How Qatar Keeps Its World Cup Stadiums Cool Enough for Everyone

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Sure, Ghani said.

In 2010, Qatar won the right to host this year’s tournament, for reasons that have to do with corruption more than thermal dynamics.

In 2015, acknowledging that scorching temperatures, in and out of stadiums, could be both miserable and dangerous, FIFA moved the competition from its traditional summer dates to late fall. The change may have made Ghani’s mission easier, with daytime temperatures in the 80s and 90s instead of 110 or higher, but he insisted that it did not matter.

These eight stadiums of various sizes and designs were not just for the World Cup. One will be dismantled, but seven will be used, year-round: for big events, for club teams, for university athletics, maybe even as part of a bid for the Olympics. (Such promises for everyday uses can go unfulfilled, as the ghost venues of past Games attest.)

In Qatar, the heat for nine months of the year is almost unbearable, Ghani said. And it is not going to get better.

A Brief Guide to the 2022 World Cup

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What is the World Cup? The quadrennial event pits the best national soccer teams against each other for the title of world champion. Here’s a primer to the 2022 men’s tournament:

Where is it being held? This year’s host is Qatar, which in 2010 beat the United States and Japan to win the right to hold the tournament. Whether that was an honest competition remains in dispute.

When is it? The tournament opened on Nov. 20, when Qatar played Ecuador. Over the two weeks that follow, four games will be played on most days. The tournament ends with the final on Dec. 18.

Is a winter World Cup normal? No. The World Cup usually takes place in July. But in 2015, FIFA concluded that the summer temperatures in Qatar might have unpleasant consequences and agreed to move the tournament to the relatively bearable months of November and December.

How many teams are competing? Thirty-two. Qatar qualified automatically as the host, and after years of matches, the other 31 teams earned the right to come and play. Meet the teams here.

How does the tournament work? The 32 teams are divided into eight groups of four. In the opening stage, each team plays all the other teams in its group once. The top two finishers in each group advance to the round of 16. After that, the World Cup is a straight knockout tournament.

How can I watch the World Cup in the U.S.? The tournament will be broadcast on Fox and FS1 in English, and on Telemundo in Spanish. You can livestream it on Peacock, or on streaming services that carry Fox and FS1. Here’s how to watch every match.

When will the games take place? Qatar is three hours ahead of London, eight hours ahead of New York and 11 hours ahead of Los Angeles. That means there will be predawn kickoffs on the East Coast of the United States for some games, and midafternoon starts for 10 p.m. games in Qatar.

Got more questions? We’ve got more answers here.

“Is it smart from a sustainability standpoint to have eight stadiums that you can only use three months of the year?” he asked. “Of course not. So you need air-conditioning to make them viable long-term.”

There are costs, of course, both financial and environmental, and Ghani and Qatari officials will not disclose them. Some estimates have the eight stadiums costing a total of $6.5 billion, a price that does not include the human cost in lives lost and chronic health problems for the low-paid migrant workers who built them.

Oil and natural gas have made Qatar rich over the past half-century, and the World Cup is part of a coming-out spending spree. Skyscrapers, malls, luxury hotels and apartment buildings, a new airport and subway network — all drenched in air-conditioning, of course — have sprouted, Oz-like, improbably in this place.