Design of Qatar World Cup final stadium unveiled

A computer-generated image of the 80,000-capacity Lusail Stadium, the eighth and final venue for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
A computer-generated image of the 80,000-capacity Lusail Stadium, the eighth and final venue for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LUSAIL (Qatar) • Qatar on Saturday revealed the design for the stadium that will in four years host the first World Cup Finals to be played in the Middle East.

The 80,000-seat Lusail Stadium - also the venue for the 2022 World Cup final - was unveiled in an elaborate ceremony attended by the country's ruler Sheikh Tamim Hamad al-Thani and other dignitaries, including the United Nations' secretary-general, Antonio Guterres.

Hassan al-Thawadi, the head of the country's World Cup organising body, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, called the unveiling a "significant milestone".

"Every milestone for us is always important," he said. "The announcement of the design of the stadium is very, very important... It's the last stadium as well."

The Lusail Stadium is the eighth and final venue to be revealed for the Qatar World Cup.

Designed by British architects Foster and Partners, the stadium is said to take its inspiration from Arab craftsmanship, said the committee.

It also stands close to the site of the former home of Qatar's founder, Sheikh Jassim Mohammed Thani al-Thani.

The stadium sits in the completely new city of Lusail, a US$45 billion (S$61.6 billion) project located 15km north of the capital city of Doha. It is one of the largest infrastructure schemes undertaken by Qatar, which is undergoing enormous transformation for the World Cup.

Construction work, in the shape of a Qatari-Chinese joint project, is set to be completed in 2020.

The Arab nation, however, has come under controversy after research conducted by the International Trade Union Confederation indicated that more than 1,200 migrant workers have died while working on projects directly linked to the construction of the new stadiums.

The unveiling of Lusail comes as world football's governing body Fifa is still considering whether to expand the tournament from 32 teams to 48.

If that expansion occurs, it is likely that games will be shared among other countries in the region.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2018, with the headline 'Design of Qatar World Cup final stadium unveiled'. Print Edition | Subscribe