Qatar became at the forefront of many Sports Tourist’s minds in 2010, when it was announced the country would host one of the world’s biggest sports events – the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
However, the country has been hosting high profile sports events for some time such as Golf’s Qatar Masters, Tennis’ Qatar Open and MotoGP’s Qatar motorcycle Grand Prix.
For active tourists meanwhile, the country gives the opportunity to a whole array of adventure sports.
Capital – Doha
Currency – Qatari riyal (QAR)
Official Languages – Arabic
Population – 2.8 million
Time – GMT+3
Sport in Qatar
Football in Qatar
Football is the most popular sport in Qatar. The top professional competition is the Qatar Stars League, with Al Sadd the most successful club having won the league multiple times and the AFC Champions League twice before (1989 & 2011). Well known international players to play in the country include Raúl, Xavi, Pep Guardiola, Gabriel Batistuta, Fernando Hierro and Ronald de Boer.
The Qatar national team played its first international match in 1970 shortly before the country declared independence. The team won the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 2019, defeating Japan 3-1 in the Final and have hosted the competition twice before (1988 & 2011). The country has never competed at the FIFA World Cup, however the country will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and will therefore qualify automatically.
Hosting the tournament has led to a large construction project, with six new football stadiums with a capacity of at least 40,000 being built – the largest being the 80,000 Lusail Iconic Stadium to complement the long standing Khalifa International Stadium.
Golf in Qatar
The Doha Golf Club has hosted the Qatar Masters European Tour event since 1998, an event previously won by top players such as Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Thomas Bjørn and Sergio Garcia. The tournament moved to the purpose built Education City Golf Club in 2020.
Motorsport in Qatar
The Losail International Circuit in Lusail has hosted the annual Qatar motorcycle Grand Prix since 2004, in 2008 becoming the first night race in MotoGP.
Tennis in Qatar
The Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha hosts the Qatar Open, a men’s and women’s professional tennis tournament although they are held independent from each other. The men’s ATP event was first played in 1993 and is usually held in early January, with previously winners including top players such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
The women’s event is usually played in mid-February and was first held in 2001. Previous winners include Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka. The tournament is one of the WTA’s Premier tournaments, although it wasn’t held in 2009 and 2010 as the venue hosted the WTA Tour Championships from 2008 to 2010.
Athletics in Qatar
The Doha Diamond League meeting has been held annually at the Suheim bin Hamad Stadium since 1997, an event that forms part of the Diamond League. The 2019 World Athletics Championships were also held at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Camel Racing in Qatar
Camel Racing is a traditional sport in Qatar, with racing usually held between October and April. The country’s primary racing venue is the Al-Shahaniya Camel Racetrack, about 45 minutes drive from central Doha.
Adventure Sports in Qatar
Qatar offers the chance to do a number of adventure sports such as dune bashing, sky diving, rock climbing, kitesurfing, quad biking and sailing.
Travelling to Qatar & Visa
The Hamad International Airport is ranked as one of the best in the world and is an important hub in the region, with Qatar Airways in particular offering flights to a number of international destinations.
Thinking of flying to Qatar? Search & book your flights through Skyscanner here.
Entry Requirements & Visas
There are over 85 countries which Qatar grant visas on arrival, for stays of up to 30 days or 90 days.
If you are a UK citizen, you can view the UK’s government latest advice on entry requirements to the Qatar by clicking here. For other passport holders, consult your own government’s travel advice for entry to the Qatar.
Travelling around Qatar
Car Hire – Hiring a car is a relatively inexpensive way of travelling around the Qatar, meaning you can dictate your own itinerary and pace. There are many companies offering car hire and can be found across most major towns, with one-way hire often available.
Where to stay in Qatar
Qatar City Guides
Guides to some of Qatar major cities/districts and most popular stops for watching Sport in the country are available below: