A look at World Cup venues (Photo Feature)

Pratik Ghimire

Pratik Ghimire

A look at World Cup venues (Photo Feature)

Eight venues were built or renovated in 12 years with oil money and the sweat, blood, and life of thousands of migrant workers, including from Nepal | Photos: FIFA

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is under way in Qatar. After the oil-rich Middle East country won the bid in 2010 to host the tournament in quite a controversial manner, it poured in billions of dollars to build the infrastructure to stage the games. Eight venues were built or renovated in 12 years with oil money and the sweat, blood, and life of thousands of migrant workers, including from Nepal. Despite the controversies, many have described these stadiums as architectural and technological masterpieces. Here is a look at them:

Al Bayt Stadium

Al Bayt Stadium, with a capacity of 60,000 seats, hosted the opening fixture and will also host another eight matches. Of these, five are group meetings and three are knockout matches. In addition to having play areas and exercise stations, Al Bayt Park also has running, cycling, horseback riding, and camel riding courses.

After the tournament is over, the modular upper tier will be taken down, and the seats will be used to build sports facilities in Qatar and abroad. The stadium received a five-star rating from the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) for its design and construction.

Khalifa International Stadium

Khalifa International Stadium, which was constructed in 1976, has previously served as the venue for the Asian Games, Arabian Gulf Cup, and AFC Asian Cup. The IAAF World Athletics Championships and matches from the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar were also held here in 2019.

To get it ready for the World Cup, the stadium underwent a significant reconstruction. With a capacity of 45,000, the stadium will host six group-stage games, one round-of-16 game, and the third-place play-off.

It was the first World Cup venue in Qatar to achieve GSAS certification.

Al Thumama Stadium

One of the quarterfinals of the World Cup, one round-of-16 match, and six group-stage games will all be played at Al Thumama Stadium. The layout of the stadium is modeled after the Middle Eastern men’s traditional woven headgear known as the ‘gahfiya’.

After the World Cup, the current capacity of 40,000 will be lowered to accommodate local demands and give other developing countries with top-notch athletic infrastructure.

Football games and other sporting events will be held in the arena’s remaining 20,000 spectators. On-site developments include a boutique hotel that will take the place of the stadium’s upper stands and a branch of a sports clinic.

Stadium 974

Stadium 974 is built from 974 standard-certified shipping containers and modular steel pieces, evoking the local port and the area’s industrial past. It is the only waterfront venue with a breathtaking perspective of the Doha cityscape.

The first-ever FIFA compliant stadium that can be fully dismantled and re-purposed post-event includes flexibility in the design to rebuild the stadium with the same capacity in a different location or build multiple smaller venues using the same materials. The GSAS gave it a five-star rating for both the design and the construction.

The end product is an arena that is unique, brightly colored, and utterly contemporary. Because of its modular construction, less typical building material was needed than in the construction of a standard stadium, which helped keep construction costs low.

Stadium 974 has a capacity of 40,000 and will host seven matches during the world cup, with six group games and one round-of-16 knockout match. 

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium

The fifth shape, a shield, unites them all and symbolizes the unity and strength that are especially important to the city of Al Rayyan. The stadium, which has a 40,000-person tournament capacity, will host six group-stage games and one round-of-16 game.

After the competition, the movable upper tier will be taken down, and the seats will be used to build other sports venues in Qatar and abroad. Numerous components of the demolished building that formerly stood in this location have been utilized in the new construction, some of which have been transformed into works of public art.

The majority of the building materials—more than 90 percent—have been recycled or reused. To reduce harm to the environment, trees that originally encircled the old arena have been saved for future replanting.

Lusail Stadium

The largest stadium in Qatar, with 80,000 seats, is Lusail. Along with the World Cup final, it will hold six group-stage games and one from each round.

The current plan for Lusail Stadium is to study the modification of the venue’s interior space to house a mixture of civic facilities. After the World Cup, the venue could feature affordable housing units, shops, food outlets, health clinics, and even a school. 

A community football field might be constructed on the higher deck and used as an outdoor terrace for new residences. Some of the tournament installations will need to be taken down to make room for these new amenities. Any materials removed will be saved, reused whenever possible, and donated to areas in need of sporting facilities.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a cutting-edge polymer, shields the stadium from heated winds, prevents dust from entering, lets in enough light for the pitch to flourish, and provides shade to lessen the demand for air conditioners. The GSAS awarded the stadium a five-star rating.

Education City Stadium

The front side of the Educational City Stadium features triangles that form complex, diamond-like geometrical patterns which appear to change color with the sun’s movement across the sky. With a capacity of 45,000, it will host eight games during the competition, including two knockout games and six group games.

The stadium’s movable upper tier will be taken down, and the seats will be donated to a nation lacking in sporting facilities. The stadium, which has cutting-edge cooling equipment for the benefit of spectators, players, and officials, is the first World Cup venue to receive a five-star design and build rating from the GSAS.

Al Janoub Stadium

The sails of conventional dhow boats served as inspiration for the design. It has playgrounds for kids, running and cycling trails, and other open spaces.

After the World Cup, the stadium’s capacity will be reduced from 40,000 to 20,000 and it will be donated to football development projects abroad. The stadium is scheduled to host six group-stage matches and one round-of-16 match.

The text is prepared on the basis of information available on FIFA’s website