Qatar FIFA 2022 World Cup bid gathers pace

Inspectors spend two days in Qatar on fact-finding mission for cup bid

FIFA inspectors are shown models of plans for the developement of Qatar's seafront as part of their two-day visit. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images
FIFA inspectors are shown models of plans for the developement of Qatar's seafront as part of their two-day visit. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

FIFA inspectors will wrap up a two-day visit of Doha today having visited Qatar to determine whether the nation is a suitable candidate for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Qatar entered its bid to become the first GCC nation to host the World Cup earlier this year and stands against eight other nations vying to host the month long festival of football.

Five of those bids (Belgium & Netherlands; England; Russia; Portugal and Spain; USA) are for either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, while Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar have narrowed their options to 2022.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the chairman of the Qatar 2022 Bid Committee, handed over a 750-page dossier to FIFA in May, which revealed detailed plans to build or redevelop a total of 12 football stadiums. As the tournament is held over summer, Qatar plans to cool each of the stadiums with massive air-conditioning units to maintain a temperature of 28 degrees even on the hottest days.

The flagship development will be Qatar’s Al Rayyan stadium, situated 20 km northwest of the capital, Doha. The plan is to adapt the structure and surround the building with a screen which will show match updates, tournament information and other material. Another existing stadium, the Al Gharafa will also be redeveloped.

The six-member FIFA team visited Qatari Diar, the real estate arm of the Qatar Investment Authority, to see presentations on Qatar’s long-term development plans, which include a state-of-the-art high-speed rail and metro system linking the stadiums; the New Doha International Airport and Lusail City.

Lusail City is a 37km2 coastal development that, officials say, compliments the World Cup bid.

“The main attraction will be the waterfront development, which will stretch across 28 kilometres,” explained spokeman Magdy Yousef.

“There will also be one of the 12 stadiums proposed in Qatar’s World Cup bid,” he added. “There will be training fields as well as hotel rooms. But we will go ahead with the project whether or not Qatar wins the World Cup.”

While it will take more than 15 years for the railway project to complete, 70% of it will be ready by 2017, five years ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

All transportation networks will use environmentally-friendly technology and will allow Qatar to host the most compact World Cup in history, with no more than an hour travel time between stadiums, hotels and other attractions organisers say.

A decision on both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup is expected later this year.

 

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