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One Year Until the World Cup: A TV Viewer’s Guide to Qatar 2022

25 Nov One Year Until the World Cup: A TV Viewer’s Guide to Qatar 2022

Given that it was just a few months ago that we were enthralled by England’s Euros adventure (more on that later), it might surprise some to learn that we are approaching a year until the World Cup. It kicks off on 21st November 2022, an unprecedented winter World Cup for us in the Northern Hemisphere. The timing, put in place due to the extreme heat in Qatar during summer, means there will be disruption to the club season, with the Premier League going on a hiatus from 13th November until Boxing Day.

But might we say a winter World Cup is a welcome addition to the viewing schedules? After all, not everyone enjoys the relentless diet of Strictly Come Dancing and Ant & Dec. Moreover, while we always associate World Cups with sunny beer gardens, it’s nice to think that there will be something on the box when the weather is, you know, awful.

The good news is that Qatar is just three hours ahead of the UK, so the matches will be at palatable viewing times if you’re watching in Blighty. There’s going to be 64 games as per usual, with most matches played at 3pm and 7pm. The Final will take place on 18th December (that’s a Sunday) at 3pm.

England’s success correlates to viewing figures

Of course, to make the tournament box-office viewing, there’s the prerequisite of England (or any of the Home Nations) doing well. We know this for sure as the television viewing figures swell as soon as England go deep in the tournament. The Euro 2020 Final, for instance, ranked second in the most-viewed sports event in UK television history. You might hazard a guess as to what ranks as number one? But if England reach the Final on 18th December next year, it’s almost certain that we will have a new record.

The good news is that every game will be shown free-to-air on BBC and ITV. The World Cup still falls under the government’s list of “protected” broadcasts, so there’s no chance (for now, anyway) of seeing the 2022 event move to Sky, BT Sport or one of the newer options like Amazon Prime.

Lineker is tipped to quit

As for who you’ll be seeing on the box, there is a lot of speculation over the future of Gary Lineker. The presenter has already stepped down from his gig at BT Sport, and there are a few rumours he might do the same from Match of the Day. Might that mean a new anchor is at the helm of the Beeb’s World Cup coverage? We will have to wait and see. As for the rest, expect to see Roy Keane’s rants feature heavily, and we all hope to see Ally McCoist – the undoubted ‘winner’ of the 2018 World Cup – in the commentary box.

In terms of the build-up for the World Cup over the next 365 days or so, expect to see a lot of criticism of the hosts, Qatar. That’s understandable, and there could – and should – be a reckoning with FIFA. But while we can take issue with the hosts, we should remember that it’s also about the people. Indeed, there was similar dissatisfaction and disquiet before the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and it turned out to be one of the best modern tournaments.

Key Dates for World Cup 2022:

13th November – Premier League Breaks Up

21st November – Opening Group Games

3rd December – Knockout Stage Begins

18th December – World Cup Final

26th December – Premier League Returns