Lusail Stadium, Qatar's crown jewel for home World Cup

The stadium, that will play host to the Arab world's first WC final, will seat 80,000 spectators and is the largest venue among the eight FIFA World Cup 2022 stadia.

A general view from inside the Lusail Stadium in Doha.   -  SANTADEEP DEY

It is only fitting that the exquisite Lusail stadium, designed by British studio Foster + Partners, finds a place in Qatar's newly-built "city of the future".

The stadium, modelled on the design of a Middle-Eastern vessel, will seat 80,000 spectators and is the largest venue among the eight FIFA World Cup 2022 stadia. Not just that, it will also play host to the Arab world's first WC final.

Tamim Lutfi El-Abed, the venue's project manager, however, said on Sunday, the actual capacity can go up to 86,000. "The number of seats being quoted publicly is a FIFA requirement for the minimum number of seats in a [World Cup] final venue which has an unobstructed view of the field of play -- no advertisement board, handrails or other structures in the line of vision. The actual number can go up to 85,000 to 86,000," he said.

After the showpiece tournament concludes, the seating capacity may be downsized to accommodate a community space, housing schools, shops and health clinics. "The outside structure would remain the same but we could redesign the interiors. But if the football and sporting profile of the country continues to pick up and with Doha set to host the 2030 Asian Games, who knows... maybe it will remain as a sports stadium after all," El-Abed added.

Tamim Lutfi El-Abed, Lusail Stadium's project manager.   -  SANTADEEP DEY

 

The country has also kept in mind environmental-friendly practices while designing the stadium, which is set to be inaugurated early next year. The construction waste was recycled, with special care taken to ensure minimal contamination. Cutting edge leak-detection mechanisms have ensured less water wastage, with a promised 40 per cent more freshwater availability than any other venue.

The oculus has been designed in a way that it allows in just enough natural light while not putting too much load on the air-conditioning technology. The artificial lighting system has also been strategically placed to mimic the glow of a traditional lantern.

El-Abed signed off, thanking India for having played a major role in the construction of the arena, which started only 1,828 days ago. "The majority of the workforce was from India. Lot of the sub-contractors involved in setting up the WiFi and data system were Indians. Many of the materials [including glass, cable and steel] also had to be brought from India."

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

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