Croatia wins $130m Qatar handball stadium contract

Croatian companies have secured a project worth in excess of $130m to build an indoor sports stadium that will host the World Handball Championships in Qatar in 2015.

The award was secured after a visit to Qatar by a Croatian delegation, which presented the work carried out by Croatian companies on the arena for the 2009 World Handball Championships in Croatia.

The 15,000-spectator stadium, touted to be one of the most advanced handball complexes ever built, will be the focal point of the competition, occupying a total 44,233m2 in Al Ahli Sports Village.

Qatar was announced as the first Middle Eastern host for World Handball Championships in January after handball nations across the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa united behind the country’s bid.

In a letter, Crown Prince HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani said: “Qatar has focused much of its energy to develop the handball game, starting from the base and reaching high levels of professionalism.”

Construction work by the Croats is expected to start in 2013.

Sheikh Tamim Al Thani continued: “Our initiatives supporting school sport are an inspiration for a new generation of handball players.”

The nation’s handball players also received a further boost in July, when the nation emerged as the undefeated champions at the Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China, after defeating Bahrain in the final.

Qatar also won the Asian Beach Handball Championship in Muscat last year.

The country then made its bid, hoping to bring the handball competition to the Middle East for the first time, the same approach that helped win over FIFA delegates for the World Cup.

The Croatian delegation that visited Qatar also came for the express purpose of opening the European nation’s first embassy in Doha.