The tiny Gulf nation will be the first Middle Eastern country to host the FIFA World Cup, changing with tradition of a summer kick-off to a winter one as it looks to avoid the scorching summer heat.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino hailed Qatar’s progress on he stadiums and other infrastructure during a visit to Doha last month, after inspecting the eight stadiums and several training sites that will be used for the month-long tournament.
“You can see the progress which is being made here four years before kick-off,” Infantino said to Al Jazeera after a tour of the Al Wakrah stadium, a 40,000 capacity venue that will host matches up to the quarter-finals stage.
“The Russian World Cup was the best ever, and the World Cup in 2022 has to be even better,” he said.
“I think this World Cup is extremely important, not only for Qatar but for the whole region – a region that has a passion for football and is investing a lot in the game.”
Seven new state-of-the-art stadia with advanced open-air cooling technology are being built from the ground up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The eighth one, Khalifa International Stadium located next to the iconic Torch Tower, was inaugurated in last year in May, after undergoing complete renovations and upgrades.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), which is overseeing the organisation of the 2022 World Cup, said earlier this year the Al Wakrah Stadium and Al Bayt in Al Khor will be ready by December 2019.
“All the stadiums will be completed two years before the tournament starts,” Yasser Al Mulla, the SC’s Landscape & Sport Turf Management senior manager, said in January.
Here is a look at the progress of the stadiums.
Khalifa International Stadium
The Khalifa International stadium, which was built in 1976 in Doha, is the first stadium that has completed renovations and upgrades.
The 40,000-capacity stadium has already hosted the Gulf Cup, Asian Games and the AFC Asian Cup to warm up into the big one in 2022.
The Lusail Stadium, located in Lusail, a city about 23km north of capital city of Doha, is an important stadium as it will host the opening ceremony and the final of the World Cup.
According to the Supreme Committee, the concrete superstructure of the stadium and the seating terraces are at an advanced stage.
Al Wakrah Stadium
Located in the southern city of Al Wakrah, this 40,000 seater stadium is “almost ready to be complete”, according to the Supreme Committee, and its retractable roof is now being installed as the final phase of construction.
Al Bayt Stadium
The Al Bayt Stadium, which translates to ‘The Home Stadium’, located in Al Khor city, has a capacity of 60,000. It’s design is a unique structure that resembles a traditional Qatari tent used in Qatar’s deserts, is half complete and according to the Supreme Committee, it is ahead of schedule.
Al Rayyan Stadium
The Al Rayyan Stadium in Qatar’s second-most populous city is being built on the site of the old Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, previous home of Qatar’s Al Rayyan Sports Club. It will have a capacity of 40,000 seats.
Education City Stadium
Education City stadium, on the outskirts of Doha, is located right in the middle of Qatar’s universities area, hence the name.
After hosting matches up to the quarter-finals stage of the world cup, the arena will be reduced in half and 20,000 seats will be donated to build stadiums in developing countries.
Al Thumama Stadium
Al Thumama stadium looks like to be one of the most iconic stadiums in terms of design as it represents the ‘Gahfiya’, a traditional white cap worn by Gulf arab men. The venue’s unique design won the Architectural Review Future Projects Award in May, will have a capacity of 40,000.
Ras Aboud Stadium
The stadium will overlook the Doha skyline in the backdrop. This 40,000 seat venue will be completely dismantled and re-purposed for other sporting and non-sporting projects after the tournament. Its foundations are currently being laid.