x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Cloud cover?

It's a blimp, it's a plane, it's - an artificial cloud for the Qatar games?

If a large unidentified object hovers above you 12 years from now, fear not.

It's not going to herald an alien invasion: it's likely to mean you're at a football match. The Qatar-based engineering teacher who dreamed up this artificial cloud says it can shade and cool the grounds during the 2022 World Cup.

The artificial cloud "will move by remote control, made of 100 per cent light carbonic materials, fuelled by four solar-powered engines and it will fly high to protect direct and indirect sun rays to control temperatures at the open playgrounds," said the head of mechanical and industrial engineering at Qatar University, Saud Abdul Ghani. The project will be a collaboration between the school and the government's Qatar Science and Technology Park.

Call it what you may, but Mr Ghani certainly can't be accused of setting his sights low. The thought of hot temperatures during the World Cup, scheduled during the scorching summer months, is already causing athletes to break out into a sweat.

Estimated to cost close to $500,000, the cloud won't come cheap. Not to be naysayers, but here's another idea worth floating: one could always build a roof.