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Photo for illustrative purposes only.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Work is finally moving forward on Qatar’s flagship World Cup stadium, with organizers naming the main contractor yesterday.

The Lusail Stadium will be built by a joint venture between Qatari firm HBK Contracting Co. (HBK) and China Railway Construction Corp. (CRCC).

The venue is expected to be completed in 2020 and will host the opening and final matches of the 2022 World Cup.

Lusail Stadium rendering, as submitted by Qatar during bid process.

Qatar 2022 Bid Committee

Lusail Stadium rendering, as submitted by Qatar during bid process.

The committee invited contractors to bid on the stadium in May, asking for work to begin this December.

At the time, it set a maximum bid price of QR2.8 billion (US$769 million). No finalized contract amount has been announced.


British architectural firm Fosters + Partners has been working on the design of the venue, which organizers said was completed earlier this year.

It will be revealed in early 2017, the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) added.

In a statement, Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi said:

“Lusail Stadium will be the center-piece of our tournament in 2022, and post tournament will become an integral part of the community in Lusail City in the legacy phase.

We look forward to revealing the Qatari-inspired design and detailed legacy plans to the people in Qatar and football fans across the world next year.”

The open-air stadium will be Qatar’s largest, and is expected to seat some 80,000 football fans during the tournament.

It will feature cooling technology like the other seven venues.

The SCDL said that Marafeq has been awarded the cooling agreement for Lusail Stadium, and will provide some 30,000 tons of refrigeration before and during the World Cup.

Lusail City

The under-construction Lusail City is located some 20km north of Doha.

According to the SCDL, the 19-district development will be home to more than 200,000 residents by 2022.

When completed, visitors to the “city of the future” will be able to get around via light rail, water taxi or through a cycle and pedestrian network.

Lusail City rendering


Lusail City rendering

Before then, Qatar is working hard on getting its World Cup stadiums ready.

So far, five tournament venues are under construction: Al Rayyan, Khalifa International, Al Wakrah, Al Bayt Al Khor and Qatar Foundation.

Three more stadiums including Lusail, Ras Abu Aboud and Al Thumama are still in the preliminary stages.

But World Cup organizers said they plan to be “managing eight live construction sites by mid-2017.”


Workers on Khalifa stadium renovation


Workers on Khalifa Stadium renovation

One of Qatar’s loudest critics has signed on to participate in inspections of stadiums and labor camps ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Starting in January, members of Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) will accompany Qatar tournament organizers during these visits.

The international trade union for construction workers signed a one-year memorandum of understanding with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) yesterday.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

EUPOL Afghanistan/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In the coming year, the number of construction workers on Qatar’s World Cup sites is expected to more than triple from 10,000 to 36,000 people.

For years, BWI has called on Qatar to improve living and working conditions for blue-collar expats, as well as offer freedom of movement and fair grievance procedures.

Speaking to Doha News, Ambet Yuson, general secretary of BWI, described the agreement as “a major breakthrough” in ensuring the safety of employees on World Cup projects in Qatar.

“There are many issues, but we want to start with health and safety because it is about the lives of workers. Construction is a dangerous job – we want to make sure every worker is protected and is safe,” he said.

For his part, SCDL Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi said the agreement comes at a “crucial stage” in World Cup preparations.

“We have always said we will work with anyone who can help us on this journey. This is testament to that promise,” he said in a statement.

‘Unbelievably bad’

It is illegal for non-Qataris to join trade unions in Qatar, but delegations from labor rights’ groups do periodically visit camps and sites in the country.

In 2013, a BWI delegation came to Qatar and inspected numerous sites over three days.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

J. Zach Hollo

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Following the visit, BWI officials said they saw overcrowding and “unbelievably bad” conditions.

These included flooded bathrooms, dilapidated kitchens and workers sharing beds and/or sleeping on the floor in their accommodation.

Though some sites did provide adequate health and safety provisions, BWI officials said they observed “disturbing evidence of wrong practices.”

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Richard Messenger/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Additionally, a general “climate of fear” among migrant workers has kept many from coming forward with complaints of mistreatment, they said.

At the time, officials did not reveal the locations they visited, but the trip came before construction got underway on the World Cup stadiums.

During her first official visit to Doha last week, FIFA’s secretary general Fatma Samoura said she wanted Qatar to have better relations with trade unions and workers’ rights groups, such as the BWI.

Site visits

The MOU applies only to visits of construction sites and accommodation that are directly related to the World Cup, excluding the vast majority of projects in Qatar.

Furthermore, joint inspections are only being done at sites that involve multinational companies based in countries where BWI currently has representation.

To date, the companies that fall under the agreement are from Austria, Belgium, Italy, India and Cyprus.

Khalifa Stadium


Khalifa Stadium

This includes all five of the World Cup stadiums currently under construction – in Al Wakrah, Al Khor, Al Rayyan, Education City and Khalifa Stadium in Doha’s Al Waab.

Qatar has so far committed to building eight venues, with details of the Al Thumama, Ras Abu Aboud and Lusail City stadiums expected to be announced next year.

The inspections, which also cover labor camps, will take place “regularly,” the SCDL said.


A joint working group is being set up to review work done so far, plan future inspections and produce a report that will be made public after each of their meetings, the statement added.

No schedule has been set yet for the meetings, but the first one will take place today.

Ambet Yuson, general secretary of the BWI.

Peter Kovessy / Doha News

Ambet Yuson, general secretary of the BWI.

The BWI/SCDL agreement follows nearly two years’ of discussions about improving working and living conditions for migrant workers in Qatar.

One of Qatar’s key challenges will be to ensure sub-contractors as well as contractors properly look after their workers.

“I believe that the big problem is down the chain. The people working for subcontractors are still the responsibility of the main contractor – they are responsible for the whole chain of workers on a project,” Yuson said.

Safety training

As part of the agreement, BWI will also give health and safety training to the SCDL and contractors working on the stadiums.

Additionally, it will review and assess SCDL’s  Workers’ Welfare forums. These are the existing procedures for employees to air and resolve grievances.

Wakrah Stadium workers


Wakrah Stadium workers

The committee already has a “workers’ charter” that outlines basic standards required from all its contractors and sub-contractors.

This was updated earlier this year to also cover ethical recruitment, workers’ nutrition, workers’ accommodation and on-site health and safety.

However, Al Thawadi admits that more can be done.

“While we have made a number of improvements in the last two years, from health and safety to accommodation standards, we recognize there is still work to be done.

That’s why we welcome this MoU and look forward to continuing the relationship we began building with the BWI over two years ago,” he said.


Construction on Al Bayt Al Khor World Cup stadium


Construction on Al Bayt Al Khor World Cup stadium

A year after construction first began on the Al Bayt Al Khor stadium, the structure is now taking shape.

The venue will host matches up to the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup, and is being designed to resemble an Arabian tent.

The foundation of the stadium in northern Qatar is now 95 percent complete, and support columns are being put into place.

The structure of one of two team tunnels has also been finished. And the other one is in progress, Qatar’s World Cup organizers have said. Additionally, sections of the stadium are now visible.

When completed in 2018, the stadium will have colored seats, a retractable roof and indoor cooling, the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) said in a statement this week.

Colored seating

The 60,000 seater venue in Al Khor will have three levels of seating. Two will be made from pre-cast concrete and remain in place after the tournament.

A third, top section will be constructed from structural steel and will be a removable module.

After the World Cup, this tier will be removed, reducing the stadium’s capacity to 32,000 fans, said Mohemed Ahmed, project manager for Khalifa International Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium.

Construction on Al Bayt Al Khor World Cup stadium

Construction on Al Bayt Al Khor World Cup stadium

Construction on Al Bayt Al Khor World Cup stadium

Resembling the interior of the Bedouin tent, the stadiums will be colored red, black and white. Samples of them have already started arriving on site.

They are being designed, made and fitted by local firm Costal Trading and Contracting Co., and will be installed next year, Ahmed added.

The venue will host matches up to the semi-finals during the tournament, which will be held in November and December 2022.

Retractable roof

To enable play throughout the year, even in the searing summer months, the stadium will have a retractable roof that can close completely within 20 minutes.

The air temperature inside will be chilled using special cooling technology.

So far, the first sections of the 12m-high, lower-tier walls are being installed. Building columns up to 21m in height are also in place.

Construction on Al Bayt Al Khor World Cup stadium


Construction on Al Bayt Al Khor World Cup stadium

Additionally, sections of the buttress wall are going up, which will support the next two levels of the structure.

Some 21 cranes are on site, including a 280-tonne mega crane, as construction gears up to the next step – placing the top slab, SCDL added.

Community facilities

Al Bayt stadium will be situated at the heart of a 1 million square meter complex that will also include a hospital, a mall and a park.

Ongoing works in the surrounding area include excavation, de-watering and the installation of pipe connections.

Al Bayt Al Khor stadium


Al Bayt Al Khor stadium

A joint venture involving Galfar Al Misnad, Salini Impregilo Group and Cimolai won a QR3.2billion contract last July to lead the main construction of the stadium and an adjacent energy center.

Meanwhile, local contractors Bin Omran Trading & Contracting and Al Sulaiteen Agricultural & Industrial Complex are working on the precinct infrastructure and landscape, respectively.

Al Bayt Al Khor is one of eight stadiums announced so far by the SCDL.

FIFA has yet to officially confirm the total number of venues Qatar must prepare for the tournament, but is now expected to do so next year.