Qatar: Khalifa International Stadium

The Khalifa International Stadium is the oldest in Qatar. Built in 1976, it has hosted numerous sporting matches since it opened its doors. This includes the 17th Arabian Gulf Cup, the 2006 Asian Games, the 2011 Pan Arab Games, the 2019 World Championships in Athletics, and more. This multipurpose stadium features double arches, and recently, a vast canopy was added to maintain a comfortable temperature for the 2022 World Cup. It was modernized to meet the FIFA stadium’s requirements, and 12,000 seats were added.

Location: Doha, Qatar Capacity: 40,000
Built in: 1976 Localteam: No Home Team

The National Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium

With the World Cup 2022 this year, Qatar was chosen to host this reputable event. There are eight stadiums where the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be held, and among these stadiums is the Khalifa International Stadium. Also known as the National Stadium, it was the first stadium to be completed in Qatar. It opened its doors in 1976 and initially had a seating capacity of 20,000.

This multi-purpose stadium is part of Doha’s Sports City Complex and is located in Doha, Qatar. Throughout the years, it has hosted many sporting events. This included all fifteen games of the 11th Gulp Cup and was renovated in 2005 for the 2006 Asian Games. In 2011, it also hosted all of Qatar’s National Team matches during the 2011 Pan Arab Games. It’s considered the National Football Team’s home stadium in Qatar. It has also hosted the annual Doha Diamond League track and field competition since 1997.

The stadium has gone through numerous redevelopments to cater for the games that will be held there. It also increased its seating capacity from 20,000 to 40,000. It was also redeveloped to cater to the 2019 World Athletics Championships in 2017.

The main features of the stadium are its dual arches and the stretched-out canopy below it. Design-wise, this also maintains the stadium’s cooling system comfortably.

Khalifa International Stadium for World Cup 2022

Once it was declared that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup in 2010, they began preparing to set up their stadiums. Plans for the Lusail Stadium began, and construction followed through afterward. The Khalifa International Stadium was also reconfigured to meet the requirements of the FIFA Stadium.

The extensive renovation of the stadium included additional seating, repair of all stands, the addition of hospitality facilities, and the construction of the canopy, which will cover about 70% of the stadium. This is to address the concerns regarding the weather conditions in Qatar during the games.

Construction works for the Khalifa International Stadium were completed in 2017, and they were able to host the 2019 World Championships in Athletics. This made the stadium the first World Cup 2022 Stadium to be completed.

The sports event played in the stadium includes matches between England vs. Iran, Germany vs. Japan, Netherlands vs. Ecuador, Croatia vs. Canada, Ecuador vs. Senegal, and Japan vs. Spain. This total of eight (8) games, including the matches between Winner Group A vs. Runner-up Group B (Round 16) and the third-place play-off. You may visit the official FIFA website for further details regarding the matches and the tickets.

Khalifa International Stadium

  • Group B: England vs. IR Iran on November 21, 2022
  • Group E: Germany vs. Japan on November 23, 2022
  • Group A: Netherlands vs. Ecuador on November 25, 2022
  • Group F: Croatia vs. Canada on November 27, 2022
  • Group A: Ecuador vs. Senegal on November 29, 2022
  • Group E: Japan vs. Spain on December 1, 2022
  • Round 16 on December 3, 2022
  • Match for 3rd Placer on December 17, 2022

This is the 8 World Cup 2022 stadiums

Issues Surrounding the Stadium in Qatar

Since Qatar was announced as the host of the World Cup 2022, many have raised concerns regarding the venue. The main issue is the weather conditions since it’s too hot to play under the sun in the country. This was the case for the Lusail Stadium since visitors mentioned how the cooling system wasn’t sufficient enough for the stadium. However, visitors commented that the cooling system in Khalifa International Stadium was surprisingly manageable.

Another issue was regarding the migrant workers during the reconstruction of the Khalifa Stadium. Like the issues surrounding the Lusail Stadium, migrant workers were also exploited during the construction of the Khalifa International Stadium. Many workers voiced how they had to pay high recruitment fees to work in Qatar.

Not only that, the recruitment agencies that they applied to also made false promises regarding the salary. Once they also raise this concern to their employers, the employers would ignore it. Apart from the low wages, they would also be delayed most of the time. This would become a trouble for the workers since they also need to pay the bills.

Workers also voiced out how their living conditions weren’t considered liveable in the first place. Instead of a maximum number of four beds per room, they were placed in rooms with eight beds instead. Aside from the poor living conditions, they also can’t leave the country or change jobs. Worse, when they try to voice their concerns or seek help, employers would end up threatening them.

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Khalifa International Stadium after World Cup 2022 in Qatar

One common concern regarding sports stadiums after grand events like the World Cup is always about their uses afterward. Since Qatar does not have a football or sporting heritage, many would wonder how the stadiums they built will be transformed once World Cup 2022 ends. The Lusail Stadium is said to minimize its seating capacity and will be reconfigured into a hospitality infrastructure where it will feature shops and restaurants.

The next challenge for the Qatar organizers is how to repurpose the stadiums to continue generating revenue for the country. Since much money was involved in either the construction or reconstruction of the stadiums, Qatar plans to repurpose them by lessening the seating capacity. As for the Khalifa International Stadium, since most of the major sporting events are held here, it will continue to serve as the main venue for such events.