First World Cup stadium in Qatar to be built in Al Wakrah

Qatar will begin construction on its first World Cup stadium next year, officials have announced after unveiling a new design for the facility in Al Wakrah.

The Al Wakrah Stadium will house 40,000 people – less than the 45,000 originally stated - and be used for some 16 matches during the 2022 World Cup.

The top-tiers of the stadium will be modular, allowing capacity to be lowered to 20,000. The extra seats will be donated to developing nations lacking sports infrastructure, as per Qatar’s plan to “recycle” parts of its stadiums following the games.

The stadium, which was designed by AECOM and Zaha Hadid Architects, is based on a dhow boat that Qataris traditionally used for pearl diving, and is slated for a 2018 completion. That’s three years later than the 2015 deadline that 2022 Supreme Committee Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi forecasted the first stadium would be ready.

But a Q2022 spokesman told Doha News that other stadium plans would be announced in the coming months. Construction on them will be staggered over the next several years, for a final completion date of 2020.

How many stadia there will be remains unclear. In a statement released today, Al Thawadi said:

“We are at an advanced stage in our planning. Al Wakrah is the first of six stadiums already in the latter stages of the design process. Our committee has issued 10 major tenders to the market encompassing project and design managers and stadium-operation consultants.”

Stadia questions

When Qatar bid for the games, it proposed readying 12 stadiums for the World Cup. That included a major renovation of three stadiums (Al Gharafa, Al Rayyan and Khalifa International), as well as the construction of nine new stadia.

Previously, those were listed as being located at Al Wakrah, Doha Port, Al Shamal, Al Khor, Umm Slal, Sports City, Lusail, Qatar University and Education City.

But the number of stadia is now expected to be pared down. The FIFA Executive Committee will decide on the final list of host venues sometime after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the spokesman said, and will likely choose from the lower end of eight to 12 locations.

Here’s a video “flythrough” of the upcoming stadium:

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