Football World Cup in Qatar: what will happen to the stadiums?

Status: 12/18/2022 8:43 a.m

Eight huge stadiums have been built or renovated for the World Cup – many more than little Qatar needs. Now some are to be converted or dismantled again. But there are hardly any details.

By Anne Allmeling, ARD studio Cairo, currently Doha

A huge crane lifts iron bars onto a pedestal, workers roll out cables, engineers monitor the erection of a high scaffolding.

Where not long ago the national teams from Denmark, France and Argentina ran across the carefully manicured lawn in front of tens of thousands of spectators, there is not much of football left: The stage for a fashion show is being created on the pitch of Stadium 974.

Shortly after the last football game here, the round of 16 between Brazil and South Korea, things got really colorful again in the container stadium.

Dismantle – and then?

The arena was named after Qatar’s telephone code and consists of 974 shipping containers. It is the world’s first fully demountable indoor football stadium.

After the World Cup final, it will then be dismantled and rebuilt somewhere else in the world. But where exactly – that is still unclear. Apparently, the interest in the reusable stadium is less than expected. An official request from ARD at the organization responsible for the stadiums in Qatar remained unanswered.

Eight stadiums for three million

In total, Qatar built or renovated eight stadiums for the World Cup. But the country, with less than three million inhabitants, is too small to use several former World Cup sports venues on a permanent basis.

Two more of these stadiums, Al-Janoub and Ahmed bin Ali, are to be significantly reduced and made available to the two Qatari football clubs: the first division Al-Wakrah and Al-Rayyan, which is also considered the Emir’s favorite club. The seats that are no longer needed will be donated to less prosperous countries, according to the plan.

Those responsible are keeping a low profile

In the future, the Qatari national team will play in the Khalifa International Stadium, which seats 40,000 spectators. The remaining stadiums are expected to be used for other purposes.

A five-star hotel, a shopping center and a sports medicine center are to move into the Al-Bait Stadium, which is reminiscent of a Bedouin tent. The Lusail Stadium, where the World Cup final between Argentina and France will take place, could in future house schools, grocery stores and doctors’ surgeries.

But the plans don’t seem to be really concrete yet – those responsible are keeping a low profile.

WM22 Balance Sheets: “White Elephants” or Sustainable: What Will Become of the World Cup Stadiums?

Anne Allmeling, ARD Cairo, 15.12.2022 10:39 a.m

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