February 14, 2022

FIFA 2022 World Cup Team Base Camps - England Choose Al Wakra

As the FIFA 2022 World Cup Qatar draws ever closer - only 280 days remain until kick-off - and teams secure their places at the tournament - 15 squads have booked their tickets so far, thoughts are turning to where each national team will be based during their stay. As part of their delivery schedule for the World Cup, Qatar has built and organised multiple base camp facilities to ensure that each team involved in the tournament has their own headquarters throughout their visit. And while no camps have been allocated yet, the English national team has already made known their desired location. They have chosen the coastal town of Al Wakra, which lies just over 20km from Doha city centre.

Team Base Camps

FIFA stipulates that hosts of the World Cup tournament must provide dedicated Team Base Camps for the national teams of each country represented at their games. The camps are required as headquarters for the teams and their staff and need to include suitable accommodation and training facilities that are close to one another. 

Hotels must be of a 4 to 5-star standard, with a sufficient number of rooms, amenities, and facilities for long-term stays, i.e. gym, swimming pool, spa and treatment rooms, leisure areas, meeting rooms, and dining options.

The training facilities are required to comprise two FIFA compliant, floodlit, high-quality natural grass pitches and ancillary services such as dressing rooms, catering and lounge areas, facilities for IT and communications, press conferences, broadcast and media, parking areas and amenities for spectators.

Qatar, though they will be using some existing and upgraded facilities, has also constructed numerous new hotels and training sites for the 2022 tournament. Hotels are generally 5-star luxury offerings, and FIFA-compliant training facilities include either mechanical cooling technologies or sufficient sun shading, stadium-quality turf and a host of other amenities to ensure team comfort. Training grounds have been strategically located near hotel residences to ensure minimal travel times between the two. Considering the compact nature of the 2022 World Cup - Qatar is only 160 km north to south and 80 km east to west, and most of the tournament's events will occur within a 70 km radius - players and staff are fortunate that there will be limited travel time no matter where they are located. 

It is no wonder that teams are already making their preferences for their Team Base Camp known…

Al Wakra Team Base Camp

On the southeast coast, just outside of Doha, is the city of Al Wakra. Once a small fishing and pearling village, and though still a fishing port, Al Wakra has grown to be Qatar's second-largest city and accommodates one of the 2022 World Cup stadiums, Al Janoub. Though it is now considered a city with all of the associated hustle and bustle, Al Wakra, especially along its shoreline, still retains an essence of the peaceful settlement it once was. Kilometres of sandy beaches, shallow warm seas, waterfront parks and playgrounds make it one of the most popular destinations for residents to relax and unwind. Al Wakra Heritage Village, also located along the beachfront, with its old-style buildings, markets and mosques, wooden, painted Dhows pulled up onto the beach, and a myriad of cafes and restaurants, is also popular with the area tourists looking to experience the traditional Qatari lifestyle.

Among the traditional buildings of the Heritage Village is Souq Al Wakra Hotel, owned by hotelier group Tivoli. It is here, in this luxury beach resort, that the England national team has voiced its preference to make their base camp. The hotel looks out over the Persian Gulf and is a mixture of modern and contemporary Arabic styles in a traditional setting. The hotel boasts over 100 rooms, five restaurants, a fitness centre, spa and treatments rooms, a hydro pool, meeting rooms and lounges, picturesque courtyards dotted with palm and fig trees and water features, and access to the beach and souq with its promenade of eateries.

Image: Souq Al Wakra Hotel/tivolihotels.com

Image: Souq Al Wakra Hotel Foyer/tivolihotels.com

Image: Souq Al Wakra Hotel Majlis/tivolihotels.com

If based at Souq Al Wakra, England's team would not only enjoy a quiet location with a relaxed and genial atmosphere, access to a host of modern amenities, traditional surroundings and the beach; they would also be a six-minute drive away from their training grounds at Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium. The 12,000 capacity stadium is currently home to Qatar Stars League players Al Wakrah SC. They would also be in close proximity to a number of the 2022 World Cup Stadiums. Indeed, six out of the eight stadiums designed for the tournament are within half an hours drive. So, no need for long journeys before matches. 

Souq Al Wakra is also one of Qatar's only dry hotels, which may have been a factor in England coach Gareth Southgate's decision-making process to keep his team in top form!

Reportedly, a delegation for the Football Association has inspected and endorsed Southgate's choice. So, if nothing stands in their way, we may expect to see one or two famous football faces strolling along Al Wakra's esplanade before too long!

Main image: Al Wakra Beach/qatarliving.qa

Published: February 14, 2022
Last updated: February 14, 2022
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