We check out Qatar’s phenomenal stadium plans for World Cup 2022
Chris Anderson and Becky Lucas
When we revealed these stadium sketches back in August, Doha’s World Cup 2022 hopes seemed but a pipe dream. Yet determination, a smash-hit pitch and vocal support from FIFA president Sepp Blatter have now made it reality, and the success of Qatar’s bid to host the World Cup in 2022 was announced last month. Evidently Doha’s pledge to use solar technology to cool venues hit the right notes, as well as its promises to link new stadiums via a new metro system, build a new FIFA headquarters, build a causeway to Bahrain and improve the small country’s infrastructure. Clearly being the richest country in the world (according to US business publication Global Finance) and comfortably able to meet the US$42.9 billion cost of such developments doesn’t hurt. Finally, the support of former French midﬁelder Zinedine Zidane as the bid ambassador was the cherry on the cake.
So what now? Over the next 11 years, Qatar will set about speedily realising these ambitious plans, and we will no doubt see the country revolutionise, as the biggest brands, events and landmarks vie to set up camp in the world’s latest hot spot.
New designs In September Qatar announced yet more stadium plans. The additional stadia mainly take their inspiration from Arabic designs – the Sports City Stadium looks like an Arabic tent, the proposed Umm Slal Stadium has the appearance of an Arabic fort, and the Qatar University stadium is a construction of shiny gold and chrome. Perhaps the most unusual of the new venues is the proposed Doha Port stadium, taking inspiration for its shape from a sea creature, sat on an artificial island, with the ability to pulse with light. In total the plans would involve building nine stadia and upgrading three, making 12 venues in all, at a cost of US$4 billion.
Al Gharafa Stadium Current status: The first venue to be worked on, this will be expanded from a capacity of 21,175 to 44,740.
Design details: The coloured ribbons symbolise the union of nations that happens as a result of the competition.
After the cup: The stadium will be returned to its original format.
Al Khor Stadium Current status: To be built.
Design details: It will have a flexible roof to provide shading over the pitch for players, which creates its recognisable shell shape. Set in its own area to the north-east of Doha, it will boast views over the Arabian Gulf.
After the cup: The capacity is 45,330, but this can be scaled back to 25,500 by removing these modular add-ons after the competition.
Al Shamal Stadium Current status: To be built.
Design details: As a nod to Arabic heritage, the proposed Al Shamal design will be inspired by the dhow, and its modular segments will be used to increase its capacity to 45,120. It will be located on the coast, at the end of the Bahrain-Qatar Friendship Bridge.
After the cup: Its segments will be scaled back down to 25,500 capacity.
Al Rayyan Stadium Current status: The stadium already exists, and will be receiving a facelift.
Design details: The stadium’s current capacity of 21,282 will be expanded to 44,740. It will boast a ‘media façade’, a 420,000sq ft membrane used to project news updates, scores and game highlights, inside and out.
After the cup: It will return to 21,282 capacity and should attract new events.
Al Wakrah Stadium Current status: To be built.
Design details: The 45,120-seater stadium is to be built as part of a larger sports complex that will house an aquatic centre, spa, training facilities and a mall.
After the cup: This will continue to be one of Qatar’s key sports venues, located by the upcoming Doha Expressway, and open every day of the year.