The Qataris say the stadium will disappear, but it is not clear when that will happen. The Gulf country will soon host an Asian Cup, the multi-sports Asian Games and maybe even an Olympic Games.
A look at FIFA‘s requirements for World Cup stadiums and what’s next for Qatar’s venues.
FIFA has clear specifications for the venue plan for the hosts of the World Cup.
A main stadium with a capacity of at least 80,000 people to host the final, at least one more with a capacity of 60,000 that must host a semi-final and several more for at least 40,000, although FIFA allowed Russia to have two that fell below the limits. 35,000 four years ago.
Qatar had a 12-stadium plan when it made a bid and won the hosting rights in 2010.
About three years into its lengthy preparations for the 2022 tournament, that project plan was whittled down to eight stadiums. Seven of them were built from scratch, and the Khalifa International Stadium was renovated ahead of hosting the 2019 world championships in athletics.
FIFA agreed to this because Qatari football simply did not need so many new venues. Qatar also did not need such large venues for its home matches in the 12-team Qatar Stars League, where matches typically draw thousands of people.
The long-term promise during the bidding was to drop a few places a level after the tournament. The steel and seats would be donated to less wealthy countries in need of stadium infrastructure.
The exact cost of Qatar’s stadiums is unclear. The total expenditure on projects related to the preparation for the World Cup is estimated at around 200,000 million dollars.
What Qatar got for its money were seven distinctive new arenas with strong themes inspired by local culture.
The 89,000-capacity Lusail Stadium is modeled after a handmade bowl; the 69,000 capacity Al Bayt stadium resembles a nomad’s desert tent; Al Thumama Stadium is like a knit cap.
Al Janoub Stadium, designed by the late Zaha Hadid, then the world’s most famous architect, is said to be inspired by the sails of a pearl-fishing boat. Many observers saw feminine delicacy in the sweeping curves of its roof.
Tens of thousands of migrant workers were brought mostly from South Asia to work in conditions that are the main controversy of this World Cup.
The exact number of workers killed or injured on tournament-related projects is unclear, partly because Qatar did not collect data or investigate the deaths.
Qatar reformed the so-called kafala system that linked workers to their employers, including European construction companies, and adopted a monthly minimum wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals ($275).
However, rights activists say that Qatar does not enforce its laws rigorously enough.
FIFA has shown some willingness to heed calls to create a compensation fund for the families of migrant workers killed or injured.
The Qatari government has dismissed the calls as a publicity stunt and highlights its own efforts to ensure workers receive their due wages.
POST WORLD PLAN?
Much of the detail is unclear, such as where parts of the stadium will go, but several will be scaled down.
The Lusail Stadium will incorporate “a community space of schools, shops, cafes, sports facilities and health clinics,” Qatar World Cup organizers said. Al Bayt will have a five-star hotel, a shopping center and a sports medicine clinic.
Two of the stadiums will be used by local football clubs. Ahmad bin Ali Stadium is home to Al Rayyan club and Al Wakrah will play at Al Janoub.
The Khalifa International Stadium should still host Qatar national team matches, including the 2026 World Cup qualifying matches.
Some of the stadiums may be reused for the next Asian Cup scheduled for January 2024.
Qatar officially picked up the hosting rights a month before the World Cup began, taking over from China, which cited the COVID-19 pandemic for returning the tournament that was due to take place in June 2023.
Maybe Stadium 974 could be pardoned for the Asian championship that starts in 13 months? The venue was built in the port area of Doha in a Lego-like design with the same number of shipping containers as the number in Qatar’s international phone code.
Qatar also needs venues to host the 2030 Asian Games, a multi-sport championship in which more athletes compete than the Olympic Games.
Then there’s the Olympic grand prix Qatar wants: the Summer Games in 2036.
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