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Khalifa Stadium arch

Reem Saad / Doha News

Khalifa Stadium arch

The final piece of an arch on Qatar’s Khalifa International Stadium has been put into place, as organizers advance on plans to prepare for the 2022 World Cup.

The 40-year-old stadium is located at the Aspire Zone and is being renovated to meet FIFA regulations.

It used to have one single, iconic arch. During its overhaul, that was removed and replaced with two arches.

Painstaking process

In a statement, tournament organizers said adding the final piece to one of the arches was no small feat. The 22m piece was installed at a height of 120m with a 600 metric ton “mega crane.”

Khalifa Stadium arch

Reem Saad / Doha News

Khalifa Stadium arch

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SCDL) added:

“Prior to lifting, the segment was tilted to the required angle at the ground level using a smaller crane.

Other major elements such as bottom, top compression rings and column segments were pre-assembled at site also using smaller crawler cranes.”

To even get the massive pieces used to assemble the top of the arch on site, 18m-long trailers were needed to deliver them and 100 and 250 ton mobile cranes were used to unload them.

The next step will be to add the roof, the stadium’s project manager Mansoor Al-Muhannadi said.

Khalifa Stadium will be handed over the SCDL by the end of this year. In 2022, it is expected to host the quarter-final World Cup matches.

The venue will have capacity for 40,000 spectators and be the first World Cup stadium to be lit solely by LED lighting, according to the SCDL.

It will also house Qatar’s 3-2-1 Olympic and Sport Museum.


All images courtesy of SDCL

The reconstruction of Khalifa International Stadium is making “rapid progress” and will become Qatar’s first completed World Cup venue when work wraps up by the end of next year, the local organizing committee said.

Since efforts began last last year to redevelop the stadium in the Aspire Zone, 90 percent of the structural concrete (42,000 cubic meters) has been laid and the remainder is expected to be done in the next two months.

New seating levels have been added to double the stadium’s capacity to 40,000. Meanwhile, the arena’s iconic arch on its eastern end has been removed and will be replaced with two arches.

Khalifa Stadium renovation


Khalifa Stadium renovation

The concrete structure is being strengthened and is nearly at full-height, with the skeleton of the stadium expected to be complete by the end of this year, according to a statement released last night by the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (SCDL).

Organizers said they are planning for the stadium to be handed over to them by the end of 2016.

Khalifa Stadium, which is nearly 40 years old, is being remodeled to meet FIFA regulations for the hosting group, round of 16 and quarter-final World Cup matches.

Artists' rendering of final Khalifa Stadium redesign


Artists’ rendering of final Khalifa Stadium redesign

The seated areas will be covered by a “tent”, which will provide shade for around 70 percent of the stadium. This is being fabricated in the US and assembled in Mexico. It is expected to be shipped to Doha “soon” and will be fixed using German-made cabling.

On the arena’s east wing there will be a building housing the new 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, which will include items and interactive exhibits demonstrating Qatar’s growing relationship with sports.

The upper and lower levels of the wing will also feature food courts, shops, multi-purpose rooms, VIP lounges and a health center, SDCL said when it revealed the design for the stadium in November last year.

Mansoor Saleh B. Al-Muhannadi, Project Manager at Aspire Zone Foundation, said of the stadium’s refurbishment:

“We are very happy with the rapid progress of renovation works at the site. Khalifa International Stadium is moving to new heights with structural work in concrete and steel, and the vertical structure is now at level eight while strengthening works are also underway.”

Khalifa’s history

One of Qatar’s oldest stadiums, Khalifa was originally built in 1976 as a 20,000-seater venue when Qatar hosted the Gulf Cup that year.

Khalifa Stadium rendering


Khalifa Stadium rendering

It has been upgraded several times, including for the 2006 Asian Games, and will be the host venue for the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics, which Qatar secured last year.

The Aspire Zone Foundation is leading construction works on the project, while the main contractors are a joint venture comprised of local contracting firm Midmac and a subsidiary of Belgium-headquartered Besix Group (Six Construct).

Dar Al Handasah and Projacs are the design consultant and project manager, respectively.

Although the 2022 World Cup will now take place in the winter, cooling technology will still be used across the field, spectators’ area and the surrounding concourse.

It is expected to be similar to the system which was tested during the open air fan zone hosted in Katara Cultural Village as spectators watched matches from the Brazil World Cup last summer.

The same technology, which cooled air temperatures by 12C, has also been successfully tested on a full-size football pitch.

Amid concerns over workers’ welfare, the SCDL said in its statement that 3,300 people have been employed on the site and have completed 3.2 million man-hours “without recordable accidents”.

Other venues

So far, Qatar has named eight locations for World Cup venues, although it has only released the designs for four of them. Architect firm Foster + Partners is working on the final concepts for the flagship stadium at Lusail City, which will host the opening ceremony and final match of the 2022 tournament.

Al Wakrah Stadium

2022 Supreme Committee

Al Wakrah Stadium

Work is already underway on stadiums in Al Wakrah, Al Khor and Education City. Al Rayyan is being razed and rebuilt, although the design scheme for this hasn’t formally been announced yet.

There are set to be venues at two others sites –  Qatar Sports Club in Dafna/West Bay and another arena near Hamad International Airport. While the SCDL previously said on these is expected to get underway later this year, it hasn’t issued any further update on these locations.

Qatar made its bid on the basis of games on 12 sites, but it is expected to pare that number, with an official decision to be announced by the end of this year. FIFA requires at least eight venues to be used to host the 64 matches during the international tournament.


Khalifa International Stadium

Qatar 2022 Bid Committee

Khalifa International Stadium

Local organizers of the 2022 World Cup say a contract has been awarded to refurbish Khalifa International Stadium, narrowing the final list of venues that will be used for the international football tournament.

Khalifa stadium, located in the Aspire Zone, is the fourth facility confirmed by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is overseeing Qatar’s World Cup preparations.

Organizers have previously announced plans to construct new stadia in Al Wakrah and Al Khor, as well as refurbishing Al Rayyan Stadium.

Qatar initially proposed using 12 stadia to host the World Cup, but has been in discussion with FIFA about reducing the number of facilities. Committee officials say that the country’s small geographic size means that fewer stadia will be required to host the tournament’s 64 matches, but reports say that concerns about rising costs and delays are also prompting organizers to scale back their plans.

In a statement to Doha News, the Supreme Committee noted that FIFA requires a minimum of eight stadia to host the World Cup and that local officials will submit a proposal on the number of venues to be used in the 2022 World Cup to FIFA by the end of the year.

A final decision is expected by March 2015.

In addition to the four confirmed stadia – all of which the Supreme Committee says are in various early or pre-construction stages – organizers initially proposed building new facilities at Al Shamal, Doha Port, Education City, Lusail, Qatar University, Sports City and Umm Slal. The Al Gharafa stadium was also slated to be upgraded.

It’s not clear which of those plans would be shelved if FIFA approves a paring down of the number of stadia. However, the Supreme Committee recently confirmed that plans for a Qatar Foundation Stadium at Education City is currently in the detailed design development phase and that a tendering process to select a main contractor is underway.

Five stadia are expected to be under construction or renovation by the end of 2014, according to the Supreme Committee.

Khalifa International Stadium

The job of refurbishing the nearly three-decade-old facility was given to a joint venture comprised of local contracting firm Midmac and a subsidiary of Belgium–headquartered Besix Group, Six Construct.

Besix knows Khalifa stadium well – it was part of the team involved in the US$90.12 million job renovating the facility for the 2006 Asian Games, according to its website.

Midmac’s well-known local projects, meanwhile, include constructing the 51-story Tornado Tower office building in Al Dafna.

The Supreme Committee declined to say how much the contract to refurbish the stadium for the World Cup is worth. However, as a hint of the scope of the project, Eversendai – a Malaysian subcontractor working on Khalifa stadium – said its share of the job was worth the equivalent of QR130.54 million (US$35.85 million).

Constructed in 1976 and upgraded in 2005, Khalifa stadium is slated to receive a new roof as well as cooling technology.

The Supreme Committee demonstrated some its strategies to keep spectators cool during a showing of this summer’s World Cup matches at Katara.

While organizers say they are prepared to employ such strategies to allow the tournament to be held during summer, where the temperature in Qatar can exceed 50C (122F), many are calling for the World Cup to be moved to the cooler winter months for the safety of players and spectators.

Other work to the stadium, according to Eversendai, includes re-engineering and dismantling lighting arches as well as the engineering, supply, fabrication and construction of various steel structures.

The Supreme Committee said the stadium can currently accommodate 34,000 spectators when oriented for FIFA football and would be expanded, but did not provide a specific figure.

Previous reports suggested the facility would be able to seat 68,000 people.