Published on : Monday, August 21, 2017
For the 2022 World Cup, Qatar will build a stadium shaped like an Arabian skull cap, as the Gulf state moves ahead with its preparations for the tournament despite a diplomatic rift with its neighbors.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates imposed sanctions on fellow U.S. ally Qatar in June and severed all transport links with the country, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha, however, denied the charges.
To counteract the boycott, Qatar has flown in food from Turkey and Iran and chartered ships via Oman to bring in construction materials needed for World Cup projects. The tournament is the centerpiece of a strategy to project Qatar onto the global stage via sport.
The organizing body said that Doha’s Al Thumama stadium, designed by a Qatari architect in the shape of a traditional knitted “gahfiya” Arabian cap, will host 40,000 fans at a World Cup quarter final match. “This symbolic design embodies everything that unites us as Arabs and Muslims, and is a fitting tribute to the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East,” said Hassan al-Thawadi, Qatar’s 2022 committee chief.
The venue is one of at least eight air-conditioned stadiums Qatar is building along with a new port and metro system as part of a $200 billion infrastructure project.
Qatar has denied allegations that the Arab sanctions have harmed tourism and lowered hotel occupancy rates.