The FIFA World Cup is the most watched sporting event on the planet. There is nothing to compare it with. It dwarfs even the Olympics. We are just a week away from this year’s spectacle and just to add to the already fever pitch excitement surrounding the event, here is some football coverage.
The Committee for Delivery and Legacy – the body responsible for managing the Qatar World Cup projects – chose, together with FIFA, eight stadiums to host the World Cup Qatar 2022. Seven of these venues were to be built from scratch, with just one, the Khalifa International, being fully refurbished to the highest FIFA standards and reopened in May 2017, with the holding of the final of the Emir Cup which saw Al Sadd beat Al Rayyan 2-1.
In addition to the Khalifa International, Al Janoub Stadium was opened last May, hosting a match between Al-Duhail and Al-Sadd, which finished 4-1 for Al-Duhail. It was Xavi Hernández’s last game, with the Barcelona legend going on to take over as the coach of Al-Sadd Club.
Three other stadiums, in line with the plans for 2022, will be inaugurated this year, with major events of the status of the importance of the occasion. The plans were confirmed by Hassan Al-Thawadi, the Secretary General of the Committee for Delivery and Legacy, with the following venues to be opened: Al-Rayyan, AL-Bayt and Education City.
Here’s a brief overview of the eight stadiums that will host Qatar 2022, starting with Al-Khalifa International, the only one not to have been built from scratch.
1. Al-Khalifa International Staduim
Built in the capital of Qatar, Doha, in 1976, it was completely refurbished and officially re-opened in 2017, with a capacity of 40,000. It will host matches at World Cup 2022 in Qatar through to the quarter-finals. It has a modern design and is equipped with cooling technology, along with new dual arches that represent continuity and the embrace of fans from all across the globe.
2. Education City Stadium
Located in the Qatari capital of Doha, it will host World Cup Qatar 2022 matches up to the quarter-finals and has a capacity of 40,000. In line with the World Cup plans, 20,000 seats from the stadium will be donated to developing countries after the tournament. An international tournament featuring Portugal, Croatia, Switzerland and Belgium had been planned for the venue, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
3. Al Rayyan Stadium
Located in the city of the same name, it has capacity for 40,000 fans and a design inspired by beautifully wild sand dunes of the west of Qatar. It is also the only World Cup 2022 stadium to take the name of a Qatar football club, Al-Rayyan, in recognition of the history, nobility and popularity of the club and the fact the ground is located on the site of the club’s former stadium, the Ahmed Bin Ali.
4. Al Thumama Stadium
Steeped in rich Arabic and Qatari history and culture, it has a 40,000 seat capacity and will host games up to the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The design of the stadium was inspired by the shape of the Gahfiya, the traditional headgear worn by men in the countries of the Middle East. The stadium also has a clinic of the Aspetar Hospital for sports medicine and orthopaedics, to take care of the players during the 2022 World Cup, and will continue to care for athletes after the World Cup, as part of the care offered by Aspetar to sports people across the world.
5. Ras Abu Aboud Stadium
Set in the city of Doha, with a capacity for 40,000 supporters, it is built of cargo shipping containers along with other items. It is the first ever World Cup stadium that is designed to be dismantled after the tournament, and its parts will be used for both sporting and non-sporting projects. Steeped in the rich Arabic and Qatari history and culture, it has a 40,000 seat capacity and will host games up to the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The design of the stadium was inspired by the shape of the Gahfiya, the traditional headgear worn by men in the countries of the Middle East. The stadium also has a clinic of the Aspetar Hospital for sports medicine and orthopaedics, to take care of the players during the 2022 World Cup, and will continue to care for athletes after the World Cup, as part of the care offered by Aspetar to sports people across the world.
6. Al Janoub Stadium
Located by the coast in the city of Al-Wakrah, it will host World Cup Qatar 2022 matches up to the quarter-finals. It boasts a capacity of 40,000 fans and was opned last year, becoming the first stadium to be built from scratch and to be ready to host World Cup matches. For the design of Al-Janoub Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid was inspired by the nature of the coast – sailing, maritime trade and fishing.
7. Lusail Stadium
The city of Lusail is the location for the largest of eight stadiums, with a capacity of 80,000 and the venue for both the inaugural match and the final, along with other games at other stages of the tournament. The design of the stadium is inspired by the interplay of light and shadow that characterises the traditional Arabic fanar lantern, with the structure and façade echoing the intricate decorative motifs on bowls, vessels and other art pieces found across the Arab and Islamic world and art exhibitions and museums the world over.
8. Al Bayt Stadium – Al Khor City
In the city of Al-Khor, this is the world’s first Arab designed stadium with the form of a traditional “House of Poetry” tent. It has a retractable roof, holds up to 60,000 spectators and will host World Cup games through to the semi-finals. After the tournament, the upper part of the stadium will be dismantled and donated to developing countries.