As the 2022 FIFA World Cup Host, Qatar is going all out to get the country in its best shape possible.
16 February 2017| Last updated on 13 June 2017
The country is being transformed with a goal of being the best FIFA World Cup host to date.
For countries hosting the Fifa World Cup, it usually means building state-of-the-art stadiums. That holds true for Qatar as well, but their preparations go far beyond that.
According to Qatar’s Minister of Finance, the government is spending a whopping $500 million per week on projects to prepare for the World Cup. They expect to continue spending that much for the next 3-4 years. Preparations don’t just include the stadiums, but also highways, rail, airports, seaports and hospitals.
Due to the low oil prices, Qatar had its first budget deficit last year since more than a decade ago. The 2017 budget cuts spending slightly, so they’re estimating a $7.8 billion deficit, which is better than last year’s $12.8 billion.
It’s estimated that Qatar will be spending around $200 billion in total by the start of the World Cup. To put that into perspective, it’s 19 times more than Russia’s projections of $10.7 billion and 18 times more than Brazil’s ($11 billion). That makes it the most expensive World Cup by far.
Khalifa International Stadium
The historic 40-year-old stadium is being renovated in order to meet the FIFA regulations. It will be solely lit by LED lighting and the renovations are expected to finish in the first quarter of 2017.
Al Bayt Stadium
Located in Al Khor city, this 60,000-seat stadium is designed as a Bedouin tent which symbolises Qatari hospitality. It will have a retractable roof which can be closed in 20 minutes. It’s the proposed venue for the semi-finals.
Qatar Foundation Stadium
Located in Education City, this stadium looks like a diamond. It will have geometric patterns that change colour depending on the position of the sun as it reflects on it. The stadium will host matches up to the quarter finals.
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Visitors can find many green areas surrounding it and there will be a number of facilities around, including football training pitches, outdoor tennis and basketball courts, an aquatics centre, golf course, health clinic, hotels and shops.
Al Wakrah Stadium
Future home to the Al Wakrah football team, this stadium will have a capacity of 45,000. It’s designed by the late Zaha Hadid who was inspired by the dhow boats that Qataris used for pearl diving.
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Alongside the stadium, there will be tennis courts, basketball courts, restaurants, a swimming pool, gyms and marketplaces.
Al Rayyan Stadium
Originally, the Ahmed bin Ali arena which was on this site was meant to be just renovated. However, they ended up tearing it down completely to build a new one that meets the FIFA technical requirements.
Situated near the Mall of Qatar and a metro station, this stadium will be a 40,000-seater that will host games up to the quarter finals. The surrounding facilities will show off sand dune-shaped structures.
Other stadiums include Lusail Stadium, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium and Al Thumama Stadium.
Other things to look forward to
More green areas
16,000 new trees will be planted across the country near stadiums.
Travellers can expect a 50 million capacity for Qatar’s Hamad International Airport.
Getting from Doha’s Corniche to Khalifa International Stadium will only take 15 minutes.