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On the 2nd of December 2010, Qatar was chosen by FIFA to host the 2022 World Cup. This choice shed light on the architecture in Qatar and the sports facilities to be constructed for this important international event. Qatar has presented a number of proposals for the construction of new sports stadiums, in addition to the rehabilitation of existing stadiums, with an investment amounting to $50 billion to upgrade its infrastructure plus $4 billion for the construction of new stadiums. Despite Qatar’s 1.7 million inhabitants, according to the national census issued in October 2010, it was able to convince FIFA of its seriousness and determination to successfully host the World Cup for the first time. The vision provided through Qatar’s bid reflects the cultural identity that the nation wants to present to the world. Qatar's immense success in the organization of Asian Olympic Games in 2006, which included competitors in more than 30 sports, had a great impact on the success of the bid file. This is in addition to Qatar’s successful history in hosting sporting events such as the Asian Cup in 1988, the World Youth Championship in 1995 and the Asian Cup in January 2011.
Qatar plans to host the World Cup in 12 environmentally friendly stadiums. The stadiums’ designs reflect the level of development of urban environments reached by Qatar in the few years of its transformation from a traditional tribal nation into a modern state. The stadiums reflect a mix of designs inspired by traditional elements of the environment and advanced technology based on the latest communication technologies as well as modern techniques in the methods of air conditioning and energy conservation. In addition to the use of forms, materials and colors inspired by history and the environment, such as the old forts, fishing ships, tents and seashells, the designs provide solutions based on modern technologies and alternative energy, such as solar energy utilization for air-conditioning. Through the designs of the new stadiums, Qatar has provided sustainable solutions to address the problems of carbon emissions so that the new stadiums are carbon-neutral, despite what is required energy-wise to provide air conditioning necessary for the playgrounds and spectators. One of the World Cup committee’s fears is the extreme heat during the months of June and July, where temperatures reach about forty degrees Celsius during the day. But Qatar's vision and experience in controlling the environment in and around the stadiums reduces the temperature to 20 degrees. An experimental stadium was constructed to prove the success of this vision.
The sports facilities will be connected to downtown Doha through a network of roads and a sophisticated new subway line that so that the length of the journey between stadiums is not more than one hour. That way, spectators can attend more than one game per day and provide ample time for the movement of players, referees and the media, which reduces the impact of the tournament on the environment. In addition to the development of its sports facilities, Qatar has been able the develop its infrastructure and the construction of many architectural monuments in a short amount of time, including Qatar's Education City, which hosts branches of a number of American universities specializing in engineering, medicine, arts, management and politics. Also, Qatar invested in the development and renewal of the traditional Souq Waqif market and the Museum of Islamic Art, which hosted many prestigious events including the 2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Additionally, many towers, hotels and shopping malls are being constructed in the Al-Dafna area, a new industrial zone located west of Doha. Qatar is also constructing a new airport that is expected to open in 2012. Other major projects in Doha include the full development of 35 hectares into a downtown destination called “Musheireb”, and the establishment of the new city of Lusail and the construction of nine new museums including a new National Museum by Architect Jean Novel.
Qatar plans to construct new stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in addition to the renovation of several existing stadiums. The new stadiums are Al-Shamal Stadium, Al-Khor Stadium, Al Wakrah Stadium, Umm Slal Stadium, Education City Stadium, Doha Port Stadium, Sports City Stadium and Lusail Stadium. The existing stadiums scheduled for renovation are Al-Rayyan Stadium, Al-Gharafa Stadium, Qatar University Stadium, Khalifa International Stadium and Al Sad Stadium. All of Qatar’s stadiums will be eco-friendly, carbon-neutral stadiums, they will utilize the power of the sun’s rays to provide a comfortable environment for the players and fans by converting solar energy into electricity that will then be used to cool the stadiums. When games are not taking place, the solar installations at the stadiums will export energy onto the power grid. During matches, the stadiums will draw energy from the grid, this is the basis for the stadiums’ carbon-neutrality.
Arup Associates designed a model stadium with a 500-seat capacity to convince FIFA officials of the proposed techniques to control the stadium’s atmosphere. The air-conditioned structure was designed to be zero carbon throughout, as all the energy needed to power the arena’s climate control system will be collected from a ‘sun farm’ of solar concentrator panels. With outdoor temperatures in Qatar reaching over 44 degrees Celsius, the playing surface of the stadium can be kept at a comfortable 23 degrees. The structure features a revolving roof canopy that can be adjusted to cast shade over the pitch or closed completely to maximize climate control. One of the innovative humanitarian initiatives provided by Qatar was the donation of the stands to developing countries that need them. The upper tier of nine stadiums will be removed after the tournament; Doha Port Stadium will be completely modular and deconstructed following the World Cup. The upper tiers will be sent to developing nations, which often lack sufficient football stadiums. Qatar sees sending the stadiums to developing nations as an integral part of the bid, as doing so will allow for the further development of football on the global stage.
In addition to the stadiums, Qatar has several sports facilities that were built in the previous years. Khalifa Olympic City was built in 1976 to the highest specifications for the 1995 Youth World Cup. This facility is comprised of a main football stadium with seating for 40,000 spectators, an Olympic-sized track, indoor sports hall with a capacity of 1,800 spectators, multipurpose courts for basketball volleyball, handball and tennis and a sports medical center established in 1995. Also, the Khalifa International Complex for Tennis and Squash, which was built to international standards in 1992, hosts tournaments like the Qatar Open Championship. The Doha Golf Club, founded by the Qatar National Hotels Company in 1997, hosts all Qatar Golf Federation’s activities. It has a world-class course on which the prestigious Qatar Masters have been held annually since 1998. The Hamad International Complex for Water Sports, situated next to the Khalifa Olympic Stadium, is designed to Olympic and international specifications; it has the required advanced equipment and installations that qualify it to host all local and international tournaments.
Qatar will need to work hard to achieve this ambitious goal, which is consistent with its national vision of transforming the country into a developed nation capable of achieving sustainable development and ensuring the continuation of decent living for its people. The event will be a driving force for neighboring countries to help Qatar in achieving its objectives as they stand to benefit from the existence of this global event in the neighborhood. New employment and investment opportunities will be created in all sectors and at all levels. The main sectors that will benefit from this investment are construction, utilities, transportation, aviation, tourism, hotels, sports, housing and sustainable energy. Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be a momentous occasion, it is expected that it will draw 3.2 billion viewers from around the world. Qatar’s centralized location in the world provides the opportunity for 82% of the world’s countries to watch live broadcasts of the matches at appropriate times. Qatar’s bid offers to host a modern and sophisticated World Cup, which will reflect well upon the Gulf states, Arab countries, Islamic world and the Middle East at large, all of which are eager to participate positively in international events.