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Exploring the Stadiums to Host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

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By Martin Graham | 20th Feb 2022

Football stadiums are as iconic as football team crests and football team colours. In fact, many a city is known worldwide for an iconic stadium due to the following that football has.

Many grand stadiums have hosted the biggest sporting festival in the world, the FIFA World Cup, and as such have been etched into sporting history.

The local organising committee of the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar have also made it a mission to etch their cities into football history as they prepare to host the world’s finest on some of the biggest and grandest football stages ever.

Here are the eight stadiums which will be hosting the 32 nations who will be playing in the FIFA 2022 World Cup come November 2022.

Al Bayt Stadium

City: Al Khor | Capacity: 60,000 seats | Opened: 2021 | Matches: 5x Group Matches (incl. Opening Match), 1x Round of 16, 1x Quarter-Final, 1x Semi-Final

Al Bayt Stadium was constructed by AS+P Albert Speer + Partner and Dar Al-Handasah architectural firms. The 60,000 capacity Stadium will host the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 and seven other matches in the duration of the tournament.

It is located in Al Khor, a city in Northern Qatar famous for fishing and pearl diving. Its design is inspired by traditional nomadic tents of the Arabs who used to wander the nation’s deserts.

It was inaugurated in early 2020 but opened in 2021 officially.

Lusail Stadium

City: Lusail | Capacity: 80,000 seats | Opening: 2022 | Matches: 5x Group Matches, 1x Round of 16, 1x Quarter-Final, 1x Semi-Final, Final

The Lusail Stadium is being constructed by British architects Foster + Partners and Populous. It is the largest of all eight stadiums which will be hosting the world’s best in November.

It is an 80,000 capacity Stadium and it is designed to mimic the interplay of light and shadow seen in the Fanar lantern, a cultural heritage of the Qatari people.

The government of Qatar plans to transform the stadium into a multi-purpose community hub to promote sustainable living after the World Cup.

It is the local organising committee’s intention to make it one of the iconic football stadiums of the world just like the Maracana, the Estadio Azteca and the Wembley Stadium.

Al Janoub Stadium

City: Al Wakrah | Capacity: 40,000 seats | Opened: 2019 | Matches: 5x Group Matches, 1x Round of 16

Al Janoub Stadium was constructed by Zaha Hadid Architects + AECOM architectural firms. The stadium was previously named after the city.

The Qatari government also intends to convert the stadium into a people project after the World Cup ends which shows the intentionality of the nation of Qatar towards sustainable development.

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

City: Al Rayyan | Capacity: 40,000 seats | Opened: 2020 | Matches: 5x Group Matches, 1x Round of 16

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium was constructed by BDP Pattern, Ramboll, and AECOM architectural firms. It is currently home to one of Qatar’s most celebrated football clubs, Al Rayyan FC.

The 40,000 fans who will be watching matches at the stadium will enjoy a lightweight canopy and advanced cooling systems to ensure maximum comfort at every game.

Khalifa International Stadium

City: Doha | Capacity: 40,000 seats | Opened: 1976 | Matches: 5x Group Matches, 1x Round of 16, Match for Third Place

Khalifa International Stadium was built in 1976 and is being renovated for the 2022 World Cup by the Aspire Zone Foundation.

The renovation will see the stadium expanded to accommodate 40,000 fans who will enjoy maximum comfort with advanced cooling technology to help them enjoy their matches in a comfortable environment.

The pitch will also have these cooling technologies to help the players play better as the Qatari Desert weather could affect performances.

Education City Stadium

City: Doha | Capacity: 40,000 seats | Opened: 2020 | Matches: 5x Group Matches, 1x Round of 16, 1x Quarter-Final

Education City Stadium is so named because it is situated in Qatar’s centre of knowledge and innovation in the city of Doha.

It is the most aesthetically pleasing of the eight stadiums that will be hosting the world’s best come November 2022. It was constructed by Fenwick Iribarren Architects.

A cool fact about the stadium is that it sits below sea level where the temperatures are cooler, because during the construction excavators uncovered rocks that date back 20-30 million years.

This made them dig 17 meters further down in order to lay the pitch below sea level for cooler temperatures.

Stadium 974

City: Ras Abu Aboud | Capacity: 40,000 seats | Opened: 2021 | Matches: 5x Group Matches, 1x Round of 16

Formerly named after the city, Stadium 974 was repurposed for the World Cup by Fenwick Iribarren Architects.

Just as the Education City stadium is considered the most aesthetically pleasing of all eight venues, Stadium 974 is considered the most innovative.

It is inspired by the nation’s international trade and seafaring. The number “974” is the international dialling code for Qatar which makes it a very significant part of the project. “974” also refers to the number of shipping containers used, or rather recycled, for its construction.

The Qatari government intends to take down the stadium totally and the space will be used as a waterfront development for the local community after the World Cup.

Ali Thumama Stadium

City: Doha | Capacity: 40,000 seats | Opened: 2021 | Matches: 5x Group Matches, 1x Round of 16, 1x Quarter-Final

Ali Thumama Stadium was constructed by Ibrahim Jaidah Architects & Engineers. It is located 12km south of Doha and its design weaves Arab culture through its facade, drawing inspiration from the woven patterns of a Gahfiya, the traditional head piece worn by Muslim men in the Arabian region.

It is a very green stadium as it has a lot of trees surrounding it and saves 40% more freshwater compared to a conventional Stadium using recycled water to irrigate the pitch’s surface.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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