The 2022 World Cup Final Will Be Held in a City That Doesn’t Yet Exist

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Searching a map of Qatar for Lusail, one of the cities slated to host a World Cup arena for the 2022 tournament, and where the final match will be played, is a waste of time. Not because Qatar’s cartography is lacking or because online mapping services are inadequate, but because Lusail isn’t finished.

Like something out of a science fiction novel, the city — which is slated to span 28 square miles on the Persian Gulf, according to CNN — will hopefully open in 2019, giving it exactly three years of local history before FIFA brings the best soccer talent in the world to the country.

Employing more than 20,000 workers (the dubious nature of Qatar’s commitment to the safety of its World Cup laborers is something that’s been under scrutiny for a long while), construction on the city is expected to cost $45 billion, and the soccer stadium will hold 86,000 fans, 34 percent of the city’s planned population. It will also be surrounded by a moat, because why not?

Needless to say, the purpose of this construction becomes significantly more obtuse if the World Cup is moved to a different host country for 2022, similarly to how countries build and discard arenas for Olympic bids. The difference, of course, is that this in an entire city. Rather, this will be an entire city: Right now, it’s construction amid waterfront desert.