x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Flashy designs unveiled to woo Fifa

Fifa inspectors wrapped up their visit of a dozen stadiums, including one that pulsates with light and is inspired by a sea urchin and another modelled after an Arabic fort.

DOHA // Fifa inspectors wrapped up their three-day visit to Qatar yesterday with a look at flashy designs for a dozen stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, including one that pulsates with light and is inspired by a sea urchin and another modelled after an Arabic fort. The stadiums will cost US$4 billion (Dh14.7bn) to build and include state-of-the-art cooling systems that ensure temperatures on the pitch and in the stands remains below 27 °C (81F).

All but one of the stadiums will have modular components allowing organisers to dismantle them afterward and give some 170,000 seats to football programmes in developing countries. "The whole thing will be taken out and shared with the world," said Fatma Fakhro, a bid official as she showed reporters the 44,950 Doha Port stadium which will be completely removed after the tournament. The inspection team included six delegates led by Harold Mayne-Nichollsy, the Chile Football Federation president. Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the organising committee for the World Cup in South Africa, is also part of the delegation.

Qatar is the final stop on a tour of nine countries which are bidding to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cups. Fifa's 24-member executive committee will be announce the winners on December 2. Most analysts consider the Gulf nation a long shot in a group of bidders containing the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan. It also faces concerns about the heat, fears its conservative values will put the brakes on the party atmosphere and questions over whether there is enough for visitors to do during the tournament.

Organisers spent the past three days making the case that Qatar can host a fun, safe and, most importantly, a cool World Cup. Qatar also showcased its plans to spend US$42.9billion (Dh157.6Bn) on an infrastructure project to be completed by the World Cup, including a high-speed rail network, a 50 million-passenger airport as well as city of 200,000 which will be home to some of the training facilities, accommodations and a stadium.

The stadium designs have been praised for mixing traditional Arab culture and cutting edge technology. Organisers seem just as proud they are all environmentally friendly, would have flexible uses and are sustainable. * Associated Press