When it first emerged at the end of 2019 into the start of 2020, few could have imagined that the Covid-19 crisis would stretch into 2021, yet it continues to affect everyday life.
Public health measures have been introduced across the world to deal with the pandemic and, while football - like most other sports - ground to a halt for a while, games are now being played behind closed doors.
Some countries have even trialled allowing a limited number of supporters into grounds to watch games, but the situation remains delicate as vaccines are rolled out and there is very little certainty.
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Not even the biggest tournaments in the world have been able to escape, with leagues thrown into disarray in 2020, while Euro 2020 was postponed until 2021 and there is no guarantee that fans will be present.
The World Cup in Qatar is a little further into the future, taking place at the end of 2022, but will fans be allowed to attend what is ordinarily the biggest sporting spectacle in the world?
On this page
- Will fans be allowed at World Cup 2022?
- When do World Cup 2022 tickets go on sale?
- How much will World Cup 2022 tickets cost?
The short answer is that we don't know for sure yet, but there is a strong sense of optimism among organisers that supporters will be able to attend World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
In fact, FIFA president Gianni Infantino is confident that venues will be packed with fans for the tournament, which kicks off on November 21, 2022 and concludes on December 18, 2022.
"At the World Cup 2022 in Qatar we will have full stadiums," Infantino told reporters in early 2021 when quizzed about the prospect.
"Covid-19 will be defeated by then and we will all have learned to live with it."
The FIFA chief added, pointedly: "If, in two years time, we are not there yet, we will have a bigger problem than the World Cup."
Even if the global public health situation is not as positive as Infantino projects come November 2022, there is a good chance that games will permit a limited attendance.
Indeed, Qatar hosted the Club World Cup in February 2021, with supporters permitted to attend and stadiums operating at 30 per cent capacity.
So, up to 12,000 socially distanced fans were allowed in the 40,000-seater venues of Al-Rayyan Stadium and Education City Stadium for games.
Strict protocols were put in place for those wishing to attend games, including the requirement to be vaccinated and to quarantine.
The experience of staging the tournament, though smaller in scale, allows the organisers a chance to test their readiness to implement restrictive measures, according to Nasser Al-Khater, Qatar World Cup chief.
"With two years to go until the FIFA World Cup in 2022, we do hope that the world goes back to normal and that people can enjoy their lives as they previously did," said Al-Khater.
"Of course we want to make sure sports is also enjoyed the way we are all used to it being enjoyed. However, it is important for us to be able to test all our protocols as we've been doing. You need to be prepared.
"We hope we don't need to implement any of these protocols that we are implementing right now. We hope that sport can go back and that the fans can really enjoy it the way they want to enjoy it."
FIFA has not yet announced when World Cup 2022 tickets go on sale, but it is likely that they will be available to buy around 10 months to a year before the tournament begins.
Tickets for the 2018 World Cup went on sale in November 2017, for example, so if we take that as an approximate indicator, fans may be able to buy from anywhere between November 2021 and January 2022.
It's possible that they will be available sooner. FIFA's official website advises those wishing to buy tickets that information will be made available "in due course" and to check their ticketing page regularly for updates.
Ticket inclusive hospitality packages went on sale in February 2021 and are available to buy now.
Prices for hospitality packages range from $950 (£690) per group match to over $200,000 (£145,000) for a luxury 'venue series' offer.
While we will have to wait to see how much general tickets will cost for World Cup 2022, it is useful to look at the ticket prices for World Cup 2018 in Russia.
So, for example, tickets for the opening match at that tournament ranged from $220 (Category 3) to $550 (Category 1).
The cost of tickets for group matches ranged from $105 to $210, while tickets for the final ranged in price from $455 to $1,100.
Prices for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar will be finalised ahead of sale opening.