Work on Qatar’s first World Cup stadium in Al Wakrah will proceed full steam ahead this month following the hiring of a new contractor, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) has announced.
Qatari firm HBK (Hamad Bin Khalid) will be responsible for the enabling works – clearing the site, building the foundations and installing underground services. Prior to the awarding of the contract, some 100 men had been working to clear the site of the new Al Wakrah Stadium.
HBK is expected to start within the next few weeks and complete its work by March of next year.
The SCDL has said it would announce the main contractor – expected to be a joint venture between a local and an international firm – by the end of this year.
Designed by AECOM and Zaha Hadid Architects – the firm behind the London Aquatics Center built for the 2012 Olympics – the stadium is based on a dhow boat, traditionally used in Qatar for pearl fishing.
The 40,000 seater arena has been designed with detachable top tiers which would reduce the stadium’s capacity to 20,000 after the 2022 World Cup. These modules will be donated to countries in need of sporting infrastructure, according to Qatar’s plans to recycle its stadia after the event.
The Al Wakrah stadium is due to be completed by 2018 – some three years later than initially planned.
In a statement about the start of ground works at Al Wakrah stadium, SCDL Secretary General Hassan al-Thawadi said:
“We are excited to announce the next stage of works for Al Wakra stadium and look forward to continued progress on the ground this year.
“The stadium and surrounding precinct will leave a social legacy in Al Wakra and by appointing HBK, a Qatari company, we aim to also contribute to the economic legacy of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.”
The stadium will be surrounded by 560,000sqm of “legacy precinct” – a community and sporting area designed to reflect the history and cultural heritage of Al Wakrah and the adjacent historical settlement of Al Wukair.
It will feature a park, mosque, school, hotel, wedding hall, vocational training center and shops, designed to boost the economy of the area.
Qatar originally announced plans to have 12 stadia ready for the World Cup. It described plans to renovate three existing stadia at Al Gharafa, Al Rayyan and Khalifa International. Earlier this year, the SCDL said they’ve awarded a contract to redevelop Al Rayyan stadium.
In addition, nine new venues were scheduled to be built – these were to be at Al Wakrah, Doha Port, Al Shamal, Al Khor, Umm Slal, Sports City, Lusail, Qatar University and Education City.
However, last month, the SCDL issued a statement, following rumors that Qatar had cut its planned number of stadia due to costs and delays.
“Given the size of our country, FIFA and the Local Organizing Committee decided to look into reducing the originally proposed 12 venues to fit the country’s specifications while ensuring best playing conditions for all 64 matches,” it said.
Under FIFA guidelines, World Cup hosts can have a minimum of eight stadiums and a maximum of 12.
While Qatar’s venues are expected to be reduced to nearer eight, the SCDL said that the FIFA Executive Committee will decide on the final number of host venues by March next year.
Note: This article has been edited to reflect the correct name of HBK.