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Peter Kovessy / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Two Qatari firms have been brought on to build several training sites around the country ahead of the 2022 World Cup, organizers have announced.

The sites are expected to be located in the vicinities of the Aspire Zone, Qatar University, Doha Golf Course, Al Sailiya and West Bay, among other areas.

They will be used by visiting national football teams as they get ready to compete in the 2022 tournament.

Nakheel Landscapes and Gulf Contracting have been awarded the contracts for the project, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) announced this week.

So far, the number of training grounds has not been determined.

But FIFA has instructed Russia to build 36 of them ahead of next year’s World Cup. That’s three for each of its 12 stadiums.

Russian LOC via FIFA

Mordovia Arena – Saransk, Russia – April 2017

So far, Qatar is planning on having eight stadiums ready for its World Cup in 2022.

In a statement, Yasir Al Jamal, vice chairman of the Technical Delivery Office at the SCDL, said:

“We’re delighted to begin work on this exciting project, which will guarantee state-of-the-art training facilities for all teams that participate in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Our goal is to offer the visiting teams the ideal conditions so that they can be at their best level during the tournament, while also building facilities which will offer lasting legacy opportunities for the local community.”


According to organizers, the training sites must be completed to FIFA specifications by 2019.

That means Qatar residents will likely see even more construction over the next few years.

The venues must meet several requirements.

Isabell Schulz/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

According to FIFA’s criteria for Russia, these include high-quality pitches; a press center that holds at least 100 people; dressing rooms; parking; and spectator areas that accommodate at least 500 fans.

The SCDL said Nakheel Landscapes will build all the training site facilities, including site infrastructure and FIFA-compliant pitches. It will also handle landscaping.

Meanwhile, Gulf Contracting will oversee specialist works for “modular, demountable and pre-fabricated buildings to be used as ancillary facilities and changing rooms.”

Getting ready

With five years to before the World Cup in Qatar, organizers are already hard at work readying eight stadiums for the tournament, including six built completely from scratch.

Its first stadium, Khalifa International, opened to the public this month with great fanfare after undergoing renovations to become World Cup ready.


Khalifa International Stadium – 2022 FIFA World Cup venue

The next venues to be completed will be in Al Wakrah and Al Khor (Al Bayt) at the end of next year, with Al Rayyan and Qatar Foundation to follow in 2019.

The designs for the three remaining stadiums in Lusail, Ras Abu Aboud and Al Thumama have yet to be released.

But those buildings should be done by the end of 2020, organizers previously said.


All photos courtesy of SCDL

Qatar’s first World Cup stadium opened with a bang yesterday, wowing 40,000+ spectators with fireworks, cultural performances and a 20C pitch.

The venue’s launch comes five years before Qatar hosts the tournament and is seen by many as a huge step forward in 2022 preparations.

Last night’s match also saw Al Sadd clinch the Emir Cup after defeating Al Rayyan 2-1.


Qatar’s Emir at Khalifa International Stadium

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim awarded the winning team its trophy. And he also cut the ribbon to mark the inauguration of the stadium.

According to QNA, he “announced in the name of every Qatari and Arab citizen” that the venue is ready to host the 2022 World Cup.

Racing toward 2022

The game was also attended by several other sporting officials. These include FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Asian Football Confederation President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.

FIFA will have the final say over whether the stadiums Qatar prepares to meet World Cup specifications.


Al Bayt stadium progress, May 2017

It still has not decided on the number of venues Qatar needs to host the tournament. But it is expected to be around eight.

Organizers have set a 2020 deadline for all of the under-construction stadiums, but Khalifa International opened six months late.

Meanwhile, designs for three of the upcoming venues have yet to be released.

Amid pressure to complete all venues on time, Qatar also continues to be dogged by rights abuse concerns at stadium sites.

Innovative stadium

But the stress of the balancing act was put aside for at least one night during Khalifa Stadium’s reopening.

The venue has been lauded for its cooling technology, sleek design and upcoming sports museum.


Sensory room at Khalifa International Stadium

It even has a “sensory room” for those who who want to watch matches without getting anxious or overstimulated.

In a statement about Khalifa International’s launch, Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SCDL), said:

“The completion of our first stadium more than five years before the Qatar World Cup begins is an important milestone that reflects our determination to deliver a tournament the entire Arab world is proud to be a part of.

As we promised in our bid, our innovative stadiums offer an unrivaled experience to fans and players alike. I’m proud we can show these off to the world and welcome fans with the hospitality this World Cup will be remembered for.”


Reem Saad / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Up to 1.3 million football fans are expected to turn out for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a senior official has said.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Nasser Al Khater, assistant secretary general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL), called the figure “a ceiling cap.”

It is higher than the 1 million fan estimate he previously mentioned in 2015.


New Khalifa International Stadium

But this could be because World Cup organizers have since shifted the tournament to Qatar’s cooler winter months.

According to AFP, Al Khater added that for the first time, the World Cup will see more fans coming from the Middle East and Asia, as opposed to Europe and South America.

“I think first of all, football is changing, but I think also because of the geographical location of Qatar, I think we are going to see the majority of fans coming from the region, mainly Saudi Arabia,” as well as India and Russia, he said.

The official was speaking during a press tour of the renovated Khalifa International Stadium.


New Khalifa International Stadium

The venue is the first in Qatar to become World Cup ready, and officially opens to the public today.

Fan zone safety

Tonight’s match between Al Said and Al Rayyan kicks off at 7pm. But the fan zone opens at 3:30pm and will include cultural performances and a food festival.

The opening ceremony of the Emir Cup final will begin at 6pm.

Ahead of the game, the Ministry of Interior has tweeted several pieces of advice for spectators, including:

  • Arrive early and be sure to head to the right gates when you’re ready to be seated;
  • Do not bring prohibited items such as fireworks, sharp tools, and glass, metal or water bottles; and
  • Do not carry banners with offensive language or wear clothing with photos or phrases “that undermine public modesty.”

First of its kind

Khalifa International Stadium was originally build in 1976 and was renovated 30 years later to host the Asian Games.

All photos courtesy of SCDL

It has undergone a second overhaul to meet FIFA’s standards for the World Cup.

New features include expanded capacity to hold up to 40,000 fans; the installation of cooling technology (which will come in handy this sweltering weekend); and the construction of a sports museum, among other things.

Are you going to the game tonight? Thoughts?