Qatar may reduce number of World Cup stadiums

Qatar’s 2022 Supreme Committee – the body responsible for delivering the country’s World Cup bid – is in talks with FIFA about reducing the number of stadiums required for the 2022 World Cup from 12 to eight or nine.

Following a meeting between the Supreme Committee and analysts from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, its analysts released a report stating that it is in dicussions to “possibly bring the number of stadiums down”.

It added that Qatar “is is indifferent to holding the event in the summer or winter”.

“Our meetings with Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee (SC) reinforced our sense of the government’s determination to deliver high-class infrastructure and left us with little doubt as to the transformational impact this commitment will have on Qatar,” the BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report states.

“That said, the execution of this very large infrastructure pipeline will require careful planning and phasing in to avoid the risk of overheating.”

It added that it expected the sheer size and the economics of the projects being undertaken were likely to drive up the cost of implementing projects “well above our initial estimates” of $95bn over the next five years.

Qatar’s World Cup Bid was based around delivering 12 new stadiums – most of which are either within – or close to – Doha.

These include the flagship Lusail Iconic Stadium, with a capacity of 86,250, as well as proposed new stadiums at Education City, Sports City and Qatar University. Three of the stadiums are expected to be delievered by expanding existing grounds.

In an interview which is due to appear in the May edition of Middle East Architect, Christopher Lee, a senior principal of sports architecture firm Populous, said that the supreme committee had been looking at “a number of permanent venues, temporary venues and renovated venues”.

Lee, whose firm has been advising the committee on a sports masterplan, also said it had been undertaking “a genuine assessment of what’s needed – pre- and post (Word Cup)”.

“There’s a great opportunity to develop a series of core stadiums with good facilities for an ongoing league that will become high-quality venues and grow the game well beyond the event,” he said.

Qatar’s 2022 Supreme Committee issued a tender for the design of the first new build stadium for the 2022 World Cup earlier this month.