Qatar reportedly plans to reallocate or scrap almost all of its World Cup stadiums
With teams and fans now at home in their respective countries, eyes will turn away from the tiny Persian Gulf nation. So what will happen to the stadiums Qatar spent billions on and rushed to build in time for the World Cup?
This question is asked after every major global sporting event, and for good reason. Sometimes, like after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, the stadiums are completely abandoned. For a country like Qatar, which is roughly the size of Connecticut, it’s hard to see much use for the eight stadiums the country has erected in and around Doha.
After the country spent around $6.5 billion to build the stadiums – and an unknown number of migrant workers have died doing so – it can be disappointing.
Qatar, however, apparently intend to use their venues more than just one World Cup.
Qatar will host the 2023 Asian Football Cup, which was moved there from China due to COVID-19. Qatar will also host the Asian Games, an event similar to the Olympics, in 2030. These will give the stadiums a second and third life, at the very least, although the venues will have reduced capacities and will be modified. Qatar is also preparing a bid to host the 2036 Olympics.
Qatar’s national football league will start playing matches in venues built for the World Cup, although they won’t attract as many people as at the event. Another, Education City Stadium, will host students and faculty from local universities and schools.
Some, however, will be completely converted into other things, depending on the weather. Al Bayat Stadium is to be transformed into a five-star hotel, shopping mall, sports medicine hospital and more. Al Thumama Stadium will still host events, but will have a hotel, sports clinic and more.
The Lusail stadium, which hosted 10 World Cup matches including a semi-final and the final, will be transformed into a mixed residential and commercial centre. Stage 974 will also disappear completely. This stadium was built from 974 recycled shipping containers in one of the most unique and environmentally friendly venues in the world. The containers, according to the report, will be shipped elsewhere and a waterfront business district will take its place.
Only the Khalifa International Stadium will remain in its current form.
Although Qatar may very well need more venues in the years and decades to come, depending on the major events taking place in the country, it will not let these World Cup stadiums sit empty until let that day come. At least, that’s the plan.