As it prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, Qatar is getting ready to step into the spotlight. It will be the first nation from the Arab world to host the event. And as you might expect, Qatar is doing a lot more than just building a few stadiums to get ready to welcome football teams and fans from around the world for the month-long tournament.
Ahead, discover everything that needs to happen between now and the winter 2022 kickoff of the Qatar World Cup.
Qatar will build eight stadiums for the World Cup
To host the 2022 tournament, Qatar will need many more stadiums than it currently has. The Gulf state has come under “increasing scrutiny” over its treatment of the migrant workers building those stadiums. But the construction continues. And Qatar has world-renowned architects on board. In the lead-up to the Qatar World Cup, the country will build a total of seven stadiums and renovate one, Arch Daily reports:
- Lusail Stadium: Opening and closing ceremonies will take place at Lusail, north of Doha. The stadium will hold 86,000 people. It will also host the 2022 World Cup final.
- Al Bayt Stadium: One of the semi-final matches of the Qatar World Cup will take place in this stadium in Al Khor. The structure will have seating for 60,000. It takes cues from Bedouin tents known as Bayt Al Sha’ar.
- Ras Abu Aboud Stadium: Proposed for a location on Doha’s coast, this stadium will be constructed of recycled shipping containers. The design enables the structure to be dismantled and transported after the tournament. That way, it can be repurposed for other events in the future.
- Al Thumama Stadium: This stadium will hold 46,000 people. Its design mimics the patterns of the gafhiya, a traditional cap worn by Arab men. The Qatar World Cup will take place in the winter. But the stadium will maintain a constant temperature year-round.
- Al Wakrah Stadium: This Zaha Hadid-designed stadium will be built just south of Doha. In fact, it’s “almost complete.” Its wave pattern draws inspiration from local maritime tradition. The structure will seat 40,000.
- Al Rayyan Stadium: Located in the desert suburbs of Doha, this stadium will feature solar panels to optimize energy usage. It will also have a facade reminiscent of Qatar’s topography. Plus, it will hold 40,000.
- Qatar Foundation Stadium (or Education City Stadium): This stadium will stand near Doha’s best universities. After the Qatar World Cup concludes, half of the stadium’s 40,000 seats will go to the construction of stadiums in developing countries. The others will stay to enable the universities to use the stadium.
- Khalifa International Stadium: One of the first stadiums to be renovated for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, this stadium was built in 1976. It’s part of the Doha Sports City complex. And it has already hosted international sporting events.
Qatar will become greener — figuratively and literally
Before the Qatar World Cup commences, plenty of changes (beyond new stadiums) will also get underway. One of the most notable is the construction of the brand-new Doha Metro. This public transit system will reduce carbon emissions and ease traffic congestion in Qatar’s capital. Most of the first phase of the project is completed. The first phase will open to the public by the end of 2018. And in 2022, the trains will carry fans to and from World Cup matches.
One of the stadiums that will host a 2022 World Cup tournament, Lusail, is part of the plans for a sustainable city. This development will feature residential spaces, shopping, and dining. It will also have schools, mosques, medical facilities, and entertainment. But that’s not the only way that Qatar is becoming greener ahead of the World Cup.
The Gulf state is also literally becoming greener thanks to all of the landscaping that workers are growing, often in nurseries on desert land that gets just a few inches of rainfall in a year. The greenery will decorate stadiums, training sites, and public plazas. Plants don’t grow easily in Doha’s desert climate. But the stadiums will need greenery — most crucially for the turf of the tournament’s playing surfaces.
Numerous new hotels will go up
Because Qatar expects to welcome 1.5 million international visitors when the Qatar World Cup commences in 2022, stadiums aren’t the only construction projects popping up around the small country. Hotels are also rising out of the sand at a breakneck pace. Luxury hotels opening in 2019 alone include the Mandarin Oriental, Ezdan Palace Hotel, Alwadi Hotel Doha, Al Najada Hotel by Tivoli, Centara West Bay, and Pullman Doha West Bay.
FIFA mandated that the host of the tournament have 125,000 hotel rooms available. When Qatar made its bid for the 2022 World Cup, it had just 30,000 hotel rooms. Efforts to build more accommodations will likely continue right up to the moment that the tournament begins.
In addition to hotels, Qatar will also offer some creative alternatives for football fans looking for lodging. People will have the opportunity to stay on cruise ships or to retreat to desert campsites instead of staying at a hotel. Rates for hotel rooms are expected to soar during the tournament, especially if the blockade by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates continues and effectively removes tens of thousands of rooms from the pool available to travelers.