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All photos courtesy of SCDL

Qatar’s sixth World Cup stadium will mimic the traditional “gahfiya,” the rounded skullcap worn by many men in the Middle East, organizers have announced.

The stadium is shaped like a white bowl and adorned with an intricate pattern.

It’s a nod to the cap that holds the ghutra and aghal in place on the head, forming “a symbol of dignity and independence,” the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) said in a statement.

The World Cup venue is the only one designed by a Qatari — architect Ibrahim Jaidah, who also did the Fire Station gallery and the new Ministry of Interior building.

According to SCDL Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi, the new design “embodies everything that unites us as Arabs and Muslims, and is a fitting tribute to the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East.”

Other upcoming 2022 World Cup stadiums in Qatar also honor Arab traditions.

SCDL

Al Bayt Al Khor stadium

For example, the Al Wakrah stadium is designed to look like a dhow, while Al Khor Al Bayt mirrors Bedouin tents and Qatari hospitality.

Stadium specs

The 40,000 seat Al Thumama stadium will host group stage and quarterfinal matches during the tournament.

It is located between E-Ring and F-Ring Roads, or between the Medical Commission and the under-construction Kahramaa Awareness Park.

SCDL

Al Thumama stadium rendering

The venue is being built by a joint Qatar-Turkey venture between Al Jaber Engineering and Tekfen.

Once the World Cup is over, the stadium will be dismantled to house half the number of fans.

It will also become a sporting and leisure hub for the community, featuring a hotel, outdoor training pitches, basketball courts, an aquatic center, running track and community retail space, among others.

Despite the ongoing blockade by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, Qatar’s tight timeline to deliver World Cup stadiums remains on schedule, a senior official said.

The crisis has “caused an inconvenience,” Al Thawadi told Al Jazeera.

But “we have very quickly moved on to plan B, found alternative sources of supply as well as alternative routes of supply…projects are on schedule. No delays have occurred.”

Two designs left

The crown jewel of Qatar’s World Cup will be Lusail Stadium, which will host the opening and final matches of the tournament.

The design for the venue was supposed to be unveiled in early 2017, but this has not yet occurred.

SCDL

Construction at Lusail stadium site

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

Like the Al Thumama stadium, it is eying a 2020 completion.

The design for Qatar’s Ras Abu Aboud venue also remains a mystery for now.

 

Thoughts?

Peter Kovessy / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Two Qatari firms have been brought on to build several training sites around the country ahead of the 2022 World Cup, organizers have announced.

The sites are expected to be located in the vicinities of the Aspire Zone, Qatar University, Doha Golf Course, Al Sailiya and West Bay, among other areas.

They will be used by visiting national football teams as they get ready to compete in the 2022 tournament.

Nakheel Landscapes and Gulf Contracting have been awarded the contracts for the project, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) announced this week.

So far, the number of training grounds has not been determined.

But FIFA has instructed Russia to build 36 of them ahead of next year’s World Cup. That’s three for each of its 12 stadiums.

Russian LOC via FIFA

Mordovia Arena – Saransk, Russia – April 2017

So far, Qatar is planning on having eight stadiums ready for its World Cup in 2022.

In a statement, Yasir Al Jamal, vice chairman of the Technical Delivery Office at the SCDL, said:

“We’re delighted to begin work on this exciting project, which will guarantee state-of-the-art training facilities for all teams that participate in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Our goal is to offer the visiting teams the ideal conditions so that they can be at their best level during the tournament, while also building facilities which will offer lasting legacy opportunities for the local community.”

Requirements

According to organizers, the training sites must be completed to FIFA specifications by 2019.

That means Qatar residents will likely see even more construction over the next few years.

The venues must meet several requirements.

Isabell Schulz/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

According to FIFA’s criteria for Russia, these include high-quality pitches; a press center that holds at least 100 people; dressing rooms; parking; and spectator areas that accommodate at least 500 fans.

The SCDL said Nakheel Landscapes will build all the training site facilities, including site infrastructure and FIFA-compliant pitches. It will also handle landscaping.

Meanwhile, Gulf Contracting will oversee specialist works for “modular, demountable and pre-fabricated buildings to be used as ancillary facilities and changing rooms.”

Getting ready

With five years to before the World Cup in Qatar, organizers are already hard at work readying eight stadiums for the tournament, including six built completely from scratch.

Its first stadium, Khalifa International, opened to the public this month with great fanfare after undergoing renovations to become World Cup ready.

SCDL

Khalifa International Stadium – 2022 FIFA World Cup venue

The next venues to be completed will be in Al Wakrah and Al Khor (Al Bayt) at the end of next year, with Al Rayyan and Qatar Foundation to follow in 2019.

The designs for the three remaining stadiums in Lusail, Ras Abu Aboud and Al Thumama have yet to be released.

But those buildings should be done by the end of 2020, organizers previously said.

Thoughts?

All photos courtesy of SCDL

Qatar’s first World Cup stadium opened with a bang yesterday, wowing 40,000+ spectators with fireworks, cultural performances and a 20C pitch.

The venue’s launch comes five years before Qatar hosts the tournament and is seen by many as a huge step forward in 2022 preparations.

Last night’s match also saw Al Sadd clinch the Emir Cup after defeating Al Rayyan 2-1.

QNA

Qatar’s Emir at Khalifa International Stadium

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim awarded the winning team its trophy. And he also cut the ribbon to mark the inauguration of the stadium.

According to QNA, he “announced in the name of every Qatari and Arab citizen” that the venue is ready to host the 2022 World Cup.

Racing toward 2022

The game was also attended by several other sporting officials. These include FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Asian Football Confederation President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.

FIFA will have the final say over whether the stadiums Qatar prepares to meet World Cup specifications.

SCDL

Al Bayt stadium progress, May 2017

It still has not decided on the number of venues Qatar needs to host the tournament. But it is expected to be around eight.

Organizers have set a 2020 deadline for all of the under-construction stadiums, but Khalifa International opened six months late.

Meanwhile, designs for three of the upcoming venues have yet to be released.

Amid pressure to complete all venues on time, Qatar also continues to be dogged by rights abuse concerns at stadium sites.

Innovative stadium

But the stress of the balancing act was put aside for at least one night during Khalifa Stadium’s reopening.

The venue has been lauded for its cooling technology, sleek design and upcoming sports museum.

SCDL

Sensory room at Khalifa International Stadium

It even has a “sensory room” for those who who want to watch matches without getting anxious or overstimulated.

In a statement about Khalifa International’s launch, Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SCDL), said:

“The completion of our first stadium more than five years before the Qatar World Cup begins is an important milestone that reflects our determination to deliver a tournament the entire Arab world is proud to be a part of.

As we promised in our bid, our innovative stadiums offer an unrivaled experience to fans and players alike. I’m proud we can show these off to the world and welcome fans with the hospitality this World Cup will be remembered for.”

Thoughts?