Planning to Travel to the 2022 World Cup Without Tickets? Think Again.

Another way this tournament will be a bit different

A building complex with offices, stores and cafes in the shape of the number 2022 stands on the access road to the Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan near Doha.
Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images

For those who have traveled to take in a World Cup, the memorable atmosphere doesn’t just come from watching games in packed stadiums. The mood in a given city hosting matches is, from what I’ve been told, a rare experience all its own. Hearing about it, it might well leave you inspired to travel to a city hosting some games, soak up the atmosphere and pony up for a ticket on the secondary market.

It’s something people have done for years — but it won’t be an option for the World Cup slated for later this year in Qatar.

Turns out the later-in-the-year timeframe isn’t the only thing that will be different about this year’s iteration of the event. The Athletic reports that Qatar is tying its system of visas — required to enter the country — to existing ticket buyers in FIFA’s system.

In other words, if you’re planning to travel to Qatar for the World Cup, you’re going to need a match ticket just to get into the country.

At issue here are Qatar’s concerns over a possible shortage of hotel rooms. To get a sense of how many people show up in a given country for the World Cup, we looked at some data from when Brazil hosted the tournament. According to reports, 650,000 more people visited the country in June 2014 than they had the previous year. But Brazil’s population that year was over 200 million — Qatar’s is much smaller. (Three million, to be more exact.)

Still, it’s a tough break for anyone looking to spend some time getting as much of the World Cup experience as one can without actually watching games in person.

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