Msometimes the best comes at the end. Before the first cranes rolled in, the Brazilian magicians around Neymar put on a big farewell show on the lawn that was no longer needed. The days of speed, tricks and goals are over at the port of Doha, with the Selecao World Cup round of 16 against South Korea (4:1) the innovative container stadium has served its purpose – dismantling can begin.
“This stadium,” said Gianni Infantino of the eye-catcher built with 974 recycled containers, “will be reused somewhere else in the world.” This unique operation is “part of the legacy of this World Cup, the sustainability of the World Cup, thinking about the environment “. The only problem is that even twelve years after the World Cup was awarded, potential buyers are not exactly queuing up, interest is limited.
It remains to be seen whether, and if so where, Stadium 974 will be rebuilt at all – as will the subsequent use of the other arenas built under the most controversial circumstances. Similar to the World Championships in Brazil and Russia, a few “white elephants” will probably remain. Qatar, with its 2.7 million inhabitants, is simply too small to use so many large sports facilities on a permanent basis. For example, the al-Janoub and Ahmad bin Ali stadiums, which will also no longer be used from the quarter-finals onwards, will be significantly reduced in size. With a capacity of 20,000 instead of 44,325, the al-Janoub is to become the home ground of the first division team Al-Wakrah SC.
The Ahmad bin Ali Stadium will also halve the World Cup capacity of 45,000, with Al-Rayyan SC as the new host. Seats are donated to less affluent countries. The Qatar national team will continue to play in the Khalifa International Stadium, which was already renovated for the 2019 World Athletics Championships – and what else? Many plans are not really concrete yet. A five-star hotel, a mall and a sports medicine center are likely to move into the “Bedouin tent” al-Bayt. For the almost 90,000 spectators in the Lusail final stadium, the ideas range from schools to grocery stores to doctor’s surgeries.
The plans for Stadium 974, used for seven World Cup games, were actually much more specific. After all, thanks to the colorful shipping containers made in China, it’s the world’s first fully demountable indoor soccer stadium. Containers with pools for relaxation, with artificial turf for warming up and even a special container as a noble box for the FIFA boss – the equipment left nothing to be desired. All of this could be rebuilt in (soccer) developing countries, at the expense of Qatar, of course – at least that’s what the announcements said.