Qatar has undertaken a huge responsibility for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as nearly all the stadiums which will host the 64 matches of the competition have been built from scratch. In fact, seven of the state-of-the-art arenas are brand new, with only one of them, the Khalifa International Stadium, having been refurbished and brought to the required level.
Inaugurated in 1976, the “National Stadium”, as it is called, is one of the oldest arenas in the country and holds a very special significance in Qatar, has hosted plenty of high-profile events, such as the Asian Games, the Arabian Gulf Cup, AFC Asian Cup, and the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup.
It was one of the first major infrastructural projects for the Middle East country and has a special legacy, through its proximity to the Aspire Zone, which hosts the Aspire Academy, the crown jewel of Qatari sport, and was always earmarked to host matches at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, since Qatar was awarded the competition.
Since its inauguration in 1976, the Khalifa International Stadium has been renovated two times, in 2006, when it hosted the Asian Games opening ceremony, with luxurious fireworks, and between 2014 and 2017, making it the first venue to be ready for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The stadium’s magnificent dual arches were always its most recognizable features. These remain intact – but now feature a wide canopy stretched out below them. This complements the stadium’s cooling system to maintain a comfortable temperature for players and fans alike. The new tier added 12,000 seats, while digital lighting and a modern façade instilled new life in the arena.
The 40,000-capacity stadium has become the first in the world to be awarded a four-star rating from the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS), which is administered by the Qatar-based Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD).
Qatar’s national stadium, which hosted seven of the team’s matches since 2019, underwent extensive redevelopment that was overseen by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organizing body, and the Aspire Zone Foundation. The official four-star certification follows a provisional award announced in June 2016.
To obtain the GSAS certification, developers must deploy leading sustainability practices in the design, construction, and operation to minimize a building’s carbon footprint. Khalifa International Stadium’s cooling technology uses an energy recovery system to reduce energy consumption. In addition, the stadium features energy-efficient lighting systems and plumbing fixtures.
“We’ve designed the cooling technology at Khalifa to be energy-efficient, and fully compliant to the SC standards in terms of field of play and spectator seating area temperatures to reach 26 degrees centigrade,” said Dr. Saud Abdul-Aziz Abdul-Ghani, of Qatar University.
A cooling plant one kilometer away from the stadium pumps chilled water to the stadium via pipeline. Once there the chilled water is used to cool air which is blown onto the field of play and spectator seating areas.
With the infrastructure previously in place, the renovation of the Khalifa International Stadium cost roughly $320 million, according to official reports, making it one of the cheapest stadiums on set for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
As Qatar has been marketing itself as one of the top destinations for sports in the world, having previously hosted the Men’s World Handball Championship, the Cycling World Championships or a variety of other football competitions, like the FIFA Club World Cup, the Khalifa International Stadium will be a mainstay for the future.
“When we talk about Khalifa Stadium, we’re not just talking about a stadium. We’re talking about one of Qatar’s iconic symbols that lies in the hearts of residents and citizens, who have witnessed multiple tournaments in this stadium,” said Ahmad Al Thani, Khalifa International Stadium Venue Manager.
“Khalifa will continue to host future matches and major tournaments. I hope we continue to amaze the world with our state-of-the-art facilities,” concluded Al Thani.