Glimpse of Lusail Iconic Stadium, 2022 Qatar World Cup's grand theatre

The officials are confident of finishing the project by 2020 so that there is time to test the facilities through friendly matches.

Apart from the curtain raiser and the finale, the 80,000 capacity Lusail stadium will also host seven to eight games across group stages and knockouts.   -  WRIDDHAAYAN BHATTACHARYYA

To the north of the West Bay Lagoon, around 20 km from Doha, lies Lusail — a planned settlement under construction. And the football stadium, that will host the inaugural and final match of the FIFA 2022 World Cup, is a stimulant to the dreams.

On Saturday, Sportstar visited the site of the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar for a first look. The officials are confident of finishing the project by 2020 so that there is time to test the facilities through friendly matches.

Surrounded by gargantuan cranes and heaps of mud, the concrete superstructure has touched the fifth and sixth floors in the east and west (as of December 15). The structure is expected to reach 80m at its highest point.

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Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy — the organisation delivering the stadiums and infrastructure for FIFA 2022 — will showcase Arab craftsmanship through the architecture.

Tamim El Abed, SC’s project manager for Lusail Stadium, also promised that the weather “the most talked about subject in Qatar” will not hamper the action or the spectatorship.

“We will be maintaining 26 degrees in the field of play for our players. It will be spring-time like weather. There will be power cooling through separate vents. This has been sanctioned after consulting sports doctors and therapists,” he said.

Apart from the curtain raiser and the finale, the 80,000 capacity stadium will also host seven to eight games across group stages and knockouts.

“We have to guarantee 80,000 net seats. So overall, we will have to build around 92,000 seats as there will be camera platforms, advertising hoardings, VIP, media etc.

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Keeping it cool

“Though the tournament has shifted to winter, we will retain our plans of cooling. Air movement is important as there will be volunteers and members of the organising committee. It is going to be a busy place (with a lot of people at the back end).”

Even without artificial assistance, the December temperature in this part of the world ranges between 25 degrees to 18 degrees (at night). The power coolers will help dissipate the heat.

“It is challenging to meet all the technological requirements. This is a place of public congregation. A theatre, a school, a hospital. When people come here, they will have utmost comfort,” he added.

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The 8,000-odd workers sweating it out are also given necessary breaks. “If they work weekends, there can’t be no consecutive weekends so that everyone has a minimum amount of break every month.

“In the summer, there are other labour laws. We stop work if the conditions become intolerable due to heat. When the humidity drops, we resume.”

Warming up

Around three friendlies have been planned between 2020 — the year of completion — leading up to the mega event in 2022.   -  WRIDDHAAYAN BHATTACHARYYA

 

The security system is still being designed into the operations in terms of facilities and number of personnel required. “We mock security operations in friendly matches that allow the security authorities to understand what it takes to organise a World Cup match.

Around three friendlies have been planned between 2020 — the year of completion — leading up to the mega event in 2022. “The Qatar Football Association will organise a friendly match say between Juventus and Real Madrid. The objective is to have a full crowd and test the cooling, lighting, movement, safety and security. We have to simulate a match-day scenario,” said Tamim.

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Lusail tram will also be operational by 2020 across four lines. It will interchange with the Doha metro at two stations — Lusail and Legtaifiya.

The Al Khor Expressway, adjacent to the stadium, is scheduled to open by the end of 2019.

(The writer is in Qatar on an invitation by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy)

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