Qatar to spend billions on 2022 World Cup bid
FIFA inspectors wrapped up their three-day visit to Qatar Thursday with a look at flashy designs for a dozen stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, including one that pulsates light.
Others are inspired by a sea urchin and modelled after an Arabic fort.
The stadiums will cost $4 billion to build and include a cooling system that ensures temperatures on the field and in the stands remains below 27 C. Qatar also showcased its plans to spend $42.9 billion on infrastructure projects to be completed by the World Cup, including a high-speed rail network and airport.
All but one of the stadiums will have modular components, allowing organizers to dismantle them afterward and donate some 170,000 seats to soccer programs in developing countries.
"The whole thing will be taken out and shared with the world," said bid official Fatma Fakhro of the 44,950 Doha Port stadium, which will be removed after the tournament.
The inspection team, which includes six delegates led by Chile Football Federation president Harold Mayne-Nicholls, completed its work Thursday. Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the organizing committee for the World Cup in South Africa, is also part of the delegation.
Qatar is the final stop on a tour of nine countries that are bidding to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cups. FIFA's 24-member executive committee will choose the winners on Dec. 2.
Concerns over temperatures, values
Most analysts consider the desert nation of 1.6 million a longshot in a group of bidders containing the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan, which have hosted either a World Cup or an Olympics.
It also faces concerns about temperatures that can reach 50 C, and whether its conservative values and limited alcohol availability will put the brakes on the party atmosphere.
Organizers spent the last three days making the case that Qatar can host a fun, safe and cool World Cup.
The stadium designs — some of which were released this year — have been praised for mixing traditional Arab culture and cutting edge technology. Organizers seemed proud the stadiums would be environmentally friendly and sustainable with flexible uses.
Dan Meis, an American architect who has been involved in designing the stadiums, said the use of modular technology by Qatar was "groundbreaking" and would likely be seen in future bids.
"We've got to the point where the cost of building infrastructure to put on an event like this doesn't make sense if there is no use for them beyond the event," Meis said. "If we can design stadiums with modularity to it or flexibility in use afterward, it makes it much easier for any bidding country."