The Heart Tugging Al Thumama Stadium
After winning the bid for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar has built eight stadiums. One of these is the Al Thumama Stadium. It has a capacity of 40, 000 seats and a public park that surrounds the stadium. Al Thumama was named after a native tree which grows in the region locally called as thumam. As mentioned in the other articles, the general theme of the stadiums surround the culture of Islam.
For Al Thumama Stadium, its architectural design is inspired from the traditional woven cap worn by men and boys across the Middle East which they call gahfiya. The gahfiya symbolizes dignity and independence as it is the cap that they wear as they come to age. In addition, it also forms a fundamental layer of traditional clothing in the region.
This concept was created by Qatari architectural and engineering firm, Arab Engineering Bureau. It is led by its chief architect, Ibrahim M Jaidah, who is also widely renowned in the region. Further, this intricate design has won the prestigious MIPIM/The Architectural Review Future Project Award in 2018.
The stadium was inaugurated last October 22, 2021 in time for the Emir Cup Final. This stadium is also one of the stadiums who hosted 6 games for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 tournament. It will be hosting eight matches for the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup. You can view the official schedules from their official website at FIFA World Cup 2022.
Al Thumama Stadium Matches & Teams Playing
- Group A: Senegal vs. Netherlands on November 21, 2022
- Group E: Spain vs. Costa Rica on November 23, 2022
- Group A: Qatar vs. Senegal on November 25, 2022
- Group F: Belgium vs. Morocco on November 27, 2022
- Group B: Iran vs. United States on November 29, 2022
- Group F: Canada vs. Morocco on December 01, 2022
- Round of 16: Winners Group D vs. Runners-up Group C on December 04, 2022
- Quarter Finals: Winners Match 55 vs. Winners Match 56 on December 10, 2022
The 8 FIFA World Cup 2022 stadiums
- Stadium 974
- Lusail Stadium
- Al Bayt Stadium
- Education City Stadium
- Khalifa International Stadium
- Al Janoub Stadium
- Al Thumama Stadium
- Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
Al Thumama’s Award Winning Design
Originally, Qatari authorities were planning to build an underground stadium where all spectators will be covered below ground level. However, the minimum 40, 000 capacity specification of FIFA won’t be achieved if they pushed through the underground stadium. Hence, they decided to build Al Thumama with its current design. As previously mentioned, Al Thumama stadium’s design is inspired from gahfiya, the woven hat worn by men and boys in the Islam culture.
Its all-white design can be perfectly viewed as your flight hovers it as the Hamad International Airport is adjacent to the venue.The circular design copied from that of the gahfiya while incorporating a modern feel. Its head-cap-shaped canopy provides shade for the spectators which will also play a part in the stadium’s cooling strategy. Just like how the gahfiya protects ones head from heat, the stadium is planned to do the same.Aside from that, since Qatar is committed to innovation and sustainability through both the tournament and a legacy.
Since they are planning to achieve the Global Sustainability Assessment System 4-star certificate it has installed solar-powered cooling systems and saves more than 40% water compared to a traditional stadium. It will be achieved through using recycled water for the 50,000 square meter of park area which surrounds the stadium infrastructure. The park contains native vegetation and 400 trees which covers 84% of the green area.
Al Thumama’s Construction & its Controversies
The stadium’s construction started in March 1, 2017 and was finally inaugurated in October 22, 2021. It is a combined venture of Al Jaber Engineering of Qatar and Tekfen Construction of Turkey. The stadium will have a smooth and simple outer form which will be covered in white cladding. The cladding will have openings which creates a stunning intricate pattern.
Despite its multiple awards from prestigious institutions, Al Thumama still has several controversies surrounding its construction just like the other seven stadiums made especially for the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup. These controversies were condemned by several human rights associations including Amnesty International. The Qatari government announced a reform for immigrant workers in October 2019. It is for the nondiscriminatory minimum wage and the freedom of the workers to leave their jobs without the need for approval of their employers. Although the reform gave a bit of relief for the workers, the employers still has quite some control over them.
However, FIFA has taken action regarding the issues. They wrote that “FIFA and its trusted partner, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, have a zero-tolerance policy to any form of discrimination and to wage abuse. Through our work to protect the rights of FIFA World Cup workers in Qatar, FIFA and the Supreme Committee are aware of the importance of wage protection measures in the country and this is why we have put in place robust systems to prevent and mitigate wage abuse on FIFA World Cup sites, as well as mechanisms for workers to raise potential grievances and practices to provide for remediation where companies fail to live up to our standards”.
Plans for Al Thumama After Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022
Following the FIFA World Cup 2022, the capacity of the stadium will be reduced in half. The removed seats will be donated to help the construction of the infrastructures in developing nations. The other remaining seats will be used for football and other sporting events to be conducted in the region.Along with these, the areas which will be vacant will be converted to a sports clinic and a boutique hotel.
All the surrounding areas will be a community hub for multiple sports that includes handball, volleyball, basketball, and swimming. Along with tracks for running and cycling which will weave their way around the stadium as well. The stadium will become an outlet for every sports enthusiast, men or women. A great move for the sustainability of the area even beyond the FIFA World Cup 2022.