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World Cup fever is in full swing in Qatar, a small Gulf state with little footballing tradition. But this will be the first time ever that this renowned tournament is hosted in a Muslim country and it comes with plenty of controversy surrounding it.
Soccer tournaments in the Middle East and Qatar have been marred by controversy, including a bribery scandal, exorbitant costs to build stadiums, and serious human rights issues. All these issues are set to come to a head as the tournament gets underway.
Al Wakrah is a coastal city 20km south of Doha, Qatar that has earned itself an international reputation as a world-class travel destination with five-star hotels, cultural attractions and innovative restaurants. It's also home to the renowned Souq Waqif Al Wakrah with plenty of stores and cafes.
Qatar's FIFA World Cup is the first ever to be held in the Middle East and it has caused a stir with numerous issues and controversies. These include an international corruption scandal, staggering stadium costs, as well as human rights concerns over how migrant workers and LGBTQI+ people are treated by authorities.
Despite all of the controversy, the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been one of the most successful to date. It's given us an unforgettable chance to witness some of the world's top players play live and many have already scored crucial goals.
Doha has become a magnet for tourists looking to witness some of the action at the tournament and experience its world-class hotels and restaurants. It's no surprise that Doha has become such an attractive tourism destination.
Al Wakrah Stadium was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects with AECOM to accommodate 44,325, drawing inspiration from traditional dhow boats used for fishing and pearl diving in the region.
This stadium, with a fully retractable roof and air-conditioned seating, was constructed specifically for the World Cup to keep players and spectators cool during scorching summer heat in Qatar. This stadium was the second of eight venues designed specifically for this year's competition.
Zaha Hadid Architects have designed an elongated, curvilinear design to pay homage to the sails of traditional dhow boats in Qatar - used for pearl diving. She said: "The dhow is a metaphor for our journey here; it's an important symbol of our heritage and representative of what Qatar has achieved."
In addition to hosting six World Cup matches, this stadium is the home of Al Wakrah SC football club and will host one round of 16 game. After the tournament ends, its upper level will be dismantled and donated to a developing country in need of sports facilities.
Al Janoub Stadium is one of eight venues hosting football matches during the World Cup in Qatar. Situated in Al Wakrah, a town rich in tradition yet looking towards its future, Al Janoub Stadium promises an exciting atmosphere for football fans everywhere.
The stadium's captivating design draws inspiration from traditional dhow boats with wind-filled sails, paying homage to Al Wakrah's fishing and pearl diving past. It stands as one of the most unique stadiums ever constructed for the FIFA World Cup and features a retractable roof to protect players and fans from inclement weather conditions.
Zaha Hadid and her design team AECOM created this curvilinear postmodernist and neo-futurist structure as a modern masterpiece within a new 580,000 square metre precinct and community hub.
In addition to its stunning design, it is equipped with cutting-edge technology. Notably, it is the first stadium in the world to feature 5G mobile network signals that cover the entire spectator area. This will allow fans to stay connected and engage with their favorite teams throughout the tournament.
Al Janoub Stadium not only stands as an architectural landmark, but it is also one of the greenest venues in existence. It uses an efficient cooling system that can be used all year round and its modular seating system allows half of its seats to be dismantled and donated overseas - creating a lasting legacy for the stadium while encouraging sustainable development projects around the world.
This striking design has caught the attention of people around the world. Some have even compared its symmetrical roof to female genitalia, leading to much controversy. However, its designer has denied these allegations.
Al Janoub Stadium will undergo many improvements to make it even more appealing to visitors from around the globe. For instance, it will be surrounded by parkland and offer ample facilities for guests to enjoy during their stay.
Furthermore, it will feature cycling and running tracks, restaurants, marketplaces and gyms to accommodate visitors. It is anticipated that this will attract tourists from around the world and contribute to strengthening the city's economy.
Al Bayt Stadium (Al Khor) is a 60,000-seat stadium situated in Qatar's northern city of Al Khor. Its name pays homage to traditional tents used by nomadic peoples of the region.
The stadium was designed with an eye towards both heritage and sustainability, featuring a retractable PTFE membrane roof that will let in light while keeping it cool, as well as allowing air conditioning to be ducted in.
Throughout the tournament, it will host three matches: one group stage match and two quarter-finals and semi-finals. It also serves as the site for the opening ceremony.
This venue has been designed to be a world-class destination with expansive green spaces, play areas and exercise stations. Additionally, there will be tracks for running, cycling and horse- and camel riding as well as 96 luxury suites.
In addition to hosting football matches, the stadium will host a range of other sporting events and festivals. It also boasts a sports medicine hospital as well as an on-site gym food court.
This stadium serves as a reminder of Qatar's past and future, having been designed with sustainability in mind - it has even been certified as such!
As part of its sustainability goals, the upper tier will be removed after the tournament and donated to a developing country. This will enable the stadium to be recommissioned once play has finished.
Despite its unique appearance, the stadium has earned a five-star rating for its environmental impact and is the first FIFA World Cup stadium to receive a sustainability certificate. It features a retractable PTFE membrane that keeps it cool while letting in light and keeping out wind and sand.
Additionally, the stadium is surrounded by parks, lakes and protected greenbelts that will be enjoyed for generations to come. After the tournament is over, plans call for building a five-star hotel atop of the stadium as well as an on-site shopping center and sports medicine hospital.
Khalifa Stadium is one of Qatar's oldest venues, having hosted many renowned events. This iconic space serves as the heart of Aspire Zone and has played a significant role in shaping Qatar's sports culture for decades.
Since its opening in 1976, the stadium has played host to an array of historic sporting events. Rarely is football or athletics talked about without mentioning this venue in Qatar. As a tribute to its long-term service, it received a complete refit for the FIFA World Cup 2022 as recognition for all that it has done.
Reopened in May 2017, this iconic stadium hosted the Amir Cup Final - a club football event dear to all Qataris. Its iconic dual arches remain unchanged, but now there is an expansive canopy beneath them which helps regulate temperatures for fans and players alike.
In addition to hosting some of Qatar's most memorable matches, the stadium has also become a major draw for tourists. It was one of the first stadiums worldwide to receive a four-star Global Sustainability Assessment System rating for its impressive efforts towards minimizing environmental impact.
Khalifa Stadium, one of the eight venues for the FIFA World Cup, will host several matches throughout the competition and also host a third-place playoff match.
In addition to being a popular tourist destination, the stadium also plays an integral role in Qatar's local community. The facilities around it will be utilized as means to enhance residents' quality of life in the region.
Another distinctive aspect of the stadium is its tent-like roof, an homage to nomadic peoples in the region. This serves as both a reminder of Qatar's cultural heritage and an encouragement for future growth.
The stadium is part of an expansive development in Doha that includes other Olympic sports facilities, Villaggio Mall, a park and The Torch Doha hotel. Once complete, the stadium will play an integral role in maintaining the city's modern cosmopolitan vibe.