On 2 December 2010, FIFA announced Qatar as hosts for the FIFA World Cup 2022. The announcement received some cheer from people of the Middle East while the rest of the world was in shock.
Qatar, a Middle-Eastern country with little footballing pedigree or experience of hosting global sporting event, was far from a conventional choice as a World Cup host.
What made this choice even stranger was the fact that when Qatar, a country that is half the size of Dhaka division, was named as hosts of the World Cup, there was only one international standard football stadium in the entire country.
But in the 12 years since, Qatar has built seven stadiums from scratch and vastly renovated the old Khalifa International Stadium to make it suitable for the World Cup.
These eight state-of-the-art stadiums are now lying in wait for the best footballers in the world to use its pitch as their canvas.
Khalifa International Stadium
Constructed in 1976, the Khalifa International Stadium is popularly known as Qatar’s ‘National Stadium’ as it houses many sports, not just football.
The 40,000 seater stadium is situated in Qatar’s capital Doha and the venue will host eight World Cup games.
The stadium, which was renovated for the World Cup in 2017, is instantly recognisable for its two arches.
‘Stadium 974’ is the most unique stadium built solely for the FIFA World Cup 2022.
The venue, which is also in Doha, has been built using 974 shipping containers. Once the World Cup is over, the shipping containers will be removed and the entire stadium will get de-constructed.
This is the first a temporary stadium is being used as a venue in a FIFA World Cup. The venue, which has a capacity of 40,000, will host seven games.
Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
This 40,000 seater venue at the city of Al Rayyan was built over an old stadium called Al Rayyan Stadium.
This stadium stands out because of its wavy facades, which reflects the oscillations of sand dunes.
This venue will host seven games.
This venue will host the tournament opener between hosts Qatar and Ecuador on 20 November.
Situated at the city of Al Khor, the venue’s design resembles tents historically used by nomadic beduin people.
The venue covers an area larger than 30 traditional football pitches and can seat 60,000 people in the stands.
After tournament opener, the stadium will host eight more games in the World Cup.
Al Thumama Stadium
Situated in Doha, this stadium resembles the shape of a gahfiya, a traditional cap worn by Qatari men.
The venue has a capacity of 40,000 and will host eight matches in the World Cup.
Although the venue was officially inaugurated in 2021, it played a crucial part in Qatar’s campaign to win the rights to host the World Cup.
Before Qatar was named as the hosts, the Qatari officials first demonstrated its ‘Cooling System’ for FIFA officials in a mini-stadium built on the same site. This cooling system will be operational in all venues of the World Cup.
Al Janoub Stadium
The design of this venue resembles the sails of Qatar’s traditional dhow boats. The 40,000 seater venue also has a retractable roof.
The venue, situated at the city of Al Wakrah, will host seven matches of the World Cup.
Education City Stadium
The Education City Stadium, which is also known as the Qatar Foundation Stadium, is situated at the Al Rayyan city.
The venue’s exterior is shaped like a diamond, which changes colour as the position of the sun changes.
The venue, which has a capacity of 40,000, will stage eight matches in the World Cup.
The champion of the 22nd FIFA World Cup will be decided at the Lusail Stadium on 18 December.
The venue, situated at the city of Lusail, is the largest of all eight stadiums and can accommodate 80,000 spectators at once.
The design of the stadium celebrates the art and craftsmanship of Islam’s ‘golden age’. The venue will host a total of 10 matches in the World Cup.