CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in DOHA: Qatar’s World Cup organisers shrugged off the international fuss over workers rights and stranded Zahir Belounis to unveil details of the design and construction for the first of its stadia for the finals in 2022.

The Al Wakrah stadium will have a 40,000 all-seater capacity yet, though it is a mere 15km south of Doha,  it will rank as the souther-most venue in the most compact host country in the World Cup’s history.

Al-Walrah: The shape of things to come for Qatar 2022

Al Wakrah itself is noted for its fishing and seafaring history which inspired the design by Zaha Hadid Architects in tandem with management service provider AECOM.

The stadium is designed in the style of a traditional dhow, an Arabian pearl fishing boat. Capacity will be cut to 20,000 after the finals through the removal of the upper tiers.

However, although the stadium and the metro line will be both be newly constructed they will not be directly connected: the metro line does not run to the venue and a shuttle bus service will be necessary for fans to complete the last 4km of the journey.

That may surprise foreign observers expecting the overall Qatar development project to offer complete stadium connection services.

Initial site work begins in January with stadium construction to begin towards the end of next year.

On the vexed issue of workers’ rights, a statement from the Qatar 2022 supreme committee said: “All construction contracts for the stadium will be issued in line with the Supreme Committee’s Workers’ Charter and Standards – developed in consultation with international human rights organizations – which will enforce best practice, in line with the government’s vision for worker welfare, and cement the tournament as a catalyst to the improvement of workers’ welfare within Qatar and the region.”

In other words, whatever may be happening in the rest of the Gulf state, the supreme committee appears to be seeking to enforce higher standards for its own specific construction. That will doubtless be closely monitored by the ITUC, the international trade union which has been campaigning for better work conditions.

Promises fulfilled

Hassan Al Thawadi, the Qatar 2022 supreme committee’s secretary general, said: “This announcement constitutes the first in an upcoming series of progress-related events and initiatives as we enter the early phase of delivering the promises we made to FIFA and the international football community during the bid.

“We are proud to reveal what we believe is a truly unique stadium design and surrounding precinct that will serve the population and act as a social hub for the community of Al Wakrah, and Qatar as a whole, during the 2022 FIFA World Cup and for the years to follow.

“The stadium reflects what our country stands for from a cultural perspective. It is modern, futuristic and functional. But importantly, it remains true to Qatari heritage with the design and materials inspired by the traditional dhow boat.

‘We are at an advanced stage in our planning. Al Wakrah is the first of six stadiums already in the latter stages of the design process. Our committee has issued 10 major tenders to the market encompassing project and design managers and stadium-operation consultants.’

Key features

The stadium would be able to host Group, Round of 16 and Quarterfinal matches during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The design uses sustainably sourced structural timber, reflecting the local seafaring tradition of Al Wakrah in the stadium structure

Primary arched trusses span over 230 metres across the stadium to create an iconic building and a column-free structure with unobstructed views from all seats

Spectators will be accommodated within a temperature-controlled (30 to 32 degrees Celsius) public realm covering approximately 72,000 sq m

Using a holistic design – incorporating shading, aerodynamic and mechanical cooling components – players and spectators will be kept cool and comfortable with a natural grass pitch cooled to an optimal 26 degrees Celsius and shaded spectator stands cooled to between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius

To meet the carbon neutral objective of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the Al Wakrah Stadium design will:

Supply 15 per cent of tournament energy using on-site renewable sources

Reduce water use by 60 per cent

Will use 15 per cent reused or recycled material in permanent structures

Will minimize waste by 90 per cent through design efficiency and construction waste management

Will receive Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) 4 Star and LEED Gold certifications

Will serve as the future home of Al Wakrah Sports Club


The new Metro station in Al Wakrah, on the Red Line, located 4 km from the stadium, with trains travelling every 10 minutes to Doha at an 800-passenger capacity per train 

A transit fan zone adjacent to the Metro station will allow fans to transfer onto stadium shuttle buses

Water taxis at the port of Al Wakrah will connect seafaring fans to Doha and other cities across Qatar

Over 100,000 sq. m. of roads, foot and cycle paths inside the precinct 

No. of parking spaces:  6,000

Community and Sports Hub Legacy

2x FIFA compliant training pitches fully cooled to an optimal 26 degrees Celsius

Multi-Purpose Indoor Arena with two indoor halls

Four Tennis Courts

2x Basketball Courts and associated support facilities

A 4 Star Business Hotel with 150 rooms

5,000-10,000 sq. m. retail space;

A Hospitality Vocational Training Centre

An international school for 1,000 pupils incorporating a 400m running track