Browsing 'world cup 2022' News

SCDL

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar is not in danger of losing hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup over the ongoing Gulf crisis, the head of FIFA has said.

The vote of confidence comes as Qatar faces an economic and diplomatic boycott from some of its neighbors.

As the dispute enters its second week, there are serious concerns about how the row will affect the import of labor and raw materials into the country.

FIFA

FIFA President Gianni Infantino

However, speaking to Swiss media this week, FIFA President Gianni Infantino pointed out that the tournament is still five years away. And diplomatic relations should be back to normal by the time 2022 rolls around.

According to AFP, Infantino added that he was happy to help in any way to resolve the crisis.

But “the essential role of FIFA, as I understand it, is to deal with football and not to interfere in geopolitics,” he said.

Construction delays

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain closed their land, sea and air borders to Qatar a week ago.

Since then, authorities have been working with new food suppliers to ensure residents experience no shortages.

Mwani Qatar, which operates Hamad Port, has also announced a direct service to Sohar Port in Oman to help bring imports in.

However, the new border controls along with travel restrictions have many people concerned about whether Qatar will meet its tight construction deadlines ahead of 2022.

Speaking to the Telegraph, a construction economist said the new Gulf dispute “could not have come at a worse time” for Qatar.

Graham Robinson, director of economic forecasting firm Global Construction Perspectives, said that the sheer number of canceled flights from the Gulf to Doha could “acutely affect labor supply.”

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This is already the case for some Indian workers who had plans to head to Qatar, according to local media reports.

The uncertainty has also worried some nations. The Philippines for example temporarily banned its citizens from working in Qatar last week. After an outcry from its own citizens however, it quickly scaled back the rule.

Force majeure

Construction costs could also go up in the coming weeks, pushing back deadlines, according to Robinson.

Reem Saad / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

He said:

“There is the potential for significant disruption and also massive cost overruns as getting construction materials into Qatar to build stadiums may yet prove more difficult, time consuming and costly.”

Legally speaking, some contractors are already talking about invoking force majeure clauses to protect their businesses if they can’t deliver on projects.

But for now, FIFA said it is not worried about missed deadlines. Officials will remain in “regular contact” with Qatar authorities to monitor the situation, Infantino said.

Thoughts?

Peter Kovessy / Doha News

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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.

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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.”

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