Qatar plans to build 12 stadiums, 70,000 hotel rooms, and $43bn of infrastructure if its bid to host football’s 2022 World Cup is successful.
Doha sees hosting the World Cup as an important step towards achieving the ambitious targets set out in the country’s 2030 Vision plan to diversify the country’s economy away from its high dependence on oil and gas reserves.
“We hope that hosting an event like the World Cup, will be a catalyst for expanding the tourism industry, which will be a great boost for the economy, and Qatar’s diversification plans,” says Hassan al-Thawadi, chief executive, Qatar 2022 Bid Committee.
The Qatar 2022 Bid Committee has been set up by the government to manage the bid.
In 2007, Qatar had said that is was planning to launch a joint bid with other Gulf countries for the 2018 World Cup, but these plans have now been abandoned as football’s governing body, FIFA, said that it did not want countries to submit joint bids for the event. Doha also bid for the 2016 Olympic Games in 2008, but it failed to make the shortlist (MEED 26:1:10).
One of the major obstacles for Qatar hosting major sporting events is the country’s climate. During the summer, when the tournament would be played, the temperature regularly exceeds 40 degrees celsius.
But Al-Thawadi does not see this as a problem that cannot be resolved.
“With the weather, we have never really seen it as a major issue. Keeping in mind that several previous world cups have been hosted in environments that have been very similar to Qatar’s,” he says.
An important part of Qatar’s bid is the new cooling technologies designed for the proposed stadiums, which the bid committee believes will allow the tournament to take place in a comfortable environment.
Qatar has employed a number of experts to work on new technology that will keep the temperature of spectator areas to 18C, and the temperature on the pitch to 27C.
The technology has been designed using solar technology so that the cooling systems will be carbon-neutral, according to the bid committee.
The emirate has already prepared designs for five of the 12 stadiums.
All of the five stadium projects launched have been designed by German architect Albert Speer & Partners.
The Al-Khor Stadium is planned for Al-Khor city, located 50 kilometres north of Doha. The stadium will have a total capacity of 45,330, with 19,830 of the seats forming part of a temporary modular upper tier.
The Al-Wakrah stadium, to be located in Al-Wakrah city in southern Qatar, will have a total capacity of 45,120 seats. The stadium will also contain a temporary upper tier of 25,500 seats.
The stadium will be surrounded by large solar panels and will be decorated with Islamic art.
The Al-Wakrah and Al-Khor stadiums will be built regardless of whether Qatar is awarded the World Cup, according to the bid committee. However, the temporary upper-tier sections will only be added if Qatar wins the right to host the tournament.
If Qatar wins the bid, after the end of the tournament the temporary sections in all of the proposed stadiums are planned to be dismantled and moved to developing countries.
The Al-Shamal stadium, to be located at Al-Shamal city in the northern most tip of Qatar, will only be built if the emirate is successful with its bid.
If the project goes ahead, it will have a total capacity of 45,120, with a permanent lower tier of 25,500 seats, and a temporary upper tier of 19,620 seats.
Al-Shamal is located on the coast of the Gulf, and the bid committee expects at least 10 per cent of spectators visiting the stadium to travel from Bahrain.
In addition to the three new stadiums, the bid committee has also launched proposals to expand two existing stadiums.
The Al-Rayyan stadium is located 20km northwest of Doha, and has an existing capacity of 21,280. Under the proposed plans, the capacity will be increased to 44,740, with the addition of a temporary upper tier.
The stadium is planned to have a membrane around the structure, which will be used as a giant screen to show match updates and tournament information.
The second existing stadium to be re-developed is the Al-Gharafa stadium, which is located next to Doha. Its current capacity, 21,175, will also be increased to 44,740 through the addition of a temporary upper tier.
The stadium will be decorated in the colours of all the countries that qualify for the World Cup.
Qatar is also planning to build a large number of hotels to support the event. “To host the World Cup, Fifa requires the host country to have 60,000 hotel rooms. We have offered them 80,000 to 90,000,” says Al-Thawadi.
Qatar is also aware of the need to design accommodation for visitors that can be re-used after the event. “Like with our stadiums, we are looking to develop accommodation that can be used after the games,” says Al-Thawadi.
“We are looking at certain accommodation projects that can be re-used as office developments, such as a media city district, or be redeveloped for local residential use,” he adds.
For infrastructure, Qatar is currently undertaking a number of large scale projects. The emirate has recently just committed $42.9bn to spend on building new roads, and upgrading the existing road network.
Qatar has pledged an initial $3bn to begin work on the Qatar rail network. The emirate is planning to build a metro project with a total length of 340 kilometres. The metro project is scheduled to have four major lines, and each train is expected to have a capacity of 400-800 passengers.
The Doha metro project will go ahead regardless of whether Qatar is successful in its World Cup bid.
The bid committee expects the metro to be capable of transporting 35,000 spectators every three hours. The estimated completion date for the project is 2021.
The metro is expected to be linked to the proposed GCC train network, which is planned to link all of the six Gulf countries together.
Doha International airport is currently undergoing $9bn worth of development work, which will see its capacity increase to 50 million passengers by 2012.
The airport will have one of the largest runways in the world at 4,850 metres.
The Qatar-Bahrain causeway is another infrastructure development planned for the emirate.
The 45km long bridge project, which will link the west coast of Qatar to the east coast of Bahrain, is currently in the tender stage and construction work is scheduled to begin in July this year.