For many World Cup fans, a football stadium is more than a mere stadium. It is a home away from home, and something of the main attraction, indeed embodying the full football experience. For the entire duration of the tournament, over 3,000,000 fans at the stadiums and one billion fans who watch the games from their TVs at home, fill these venues with their hopes, dreams and aspirations.
They come to the stadiums to see and cheer on their favorite players. But even as they draw up to the parking lot, show the ticket attendant their stubs, walk up to their seats and sip their beer (or fast booming non-alcoholic brew), they marvel at the stadium. At a tournament like the World Cup, the venue becomes as significant as the game. It is part and parcel of the world cup experience.
The Arab world (with Qatar at the helm) has set out its stall for a stadium series like no other, to ensure a World Cup to remember.
And judging by the stadiums that are being built for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, boy are these soccer fans in for a treat! From Arabian dhows to historical forts and surreal moats, the stadiums being planned for the 2022 edition of the most watched tournament in the world are stunning triumphs of science and imagination.
As William Shakespeare once said, “All the world’s a stadium, and all its men and women merely players. And Qatar, thou hast the world’s finest stadiums.” (Shakespeare didn’t actually say that, but if he were alive, you bet your last edition of As You Like It that he would.)
Each of these twelve stadiums have been designed with the 50 degree plus Qatar scorching summer temperatures in mind. (In a Eurocentric football world, the World Cup has traditionally been played in high-holiday season - the summer,- when people in Europe take time off work). Qatar has come up with a workaround to address this problem without plumping for the winter option still in debate. Powered in eco-friendly ways, the stadiums are designed to keep the temperature ambient at a more tolerable 27 degrees Celsius.
And while we’re talking about the stadiums, let’s also take a few moments to hope that Qatar is moving heaven and earth to improve the conditions of its migrant workers (aka 'world cup slaves') who are building these architectural marvels.
So whether you are football mad or appreciate fine architecture, gear up for this gallery of venue wonders of the Gulf! You’re in for a visual treat!
Here we go -- let’s take a look at your oil and natural gas money at work!