Education City Stadium – 2022 FIFA World Cup Stadium

One of the Football stadiums that are being converted for the Football World Cup 2022 is Education City Stadium, located in Al Rayyan, Qatar. The 2022 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar, starting on 20 November and ending on 18 December 2022. Because of Qatar’s intense heat in the summer, the 2022 FIFA World Cup officials chose to hold the famous cup in November in Qatar. This year will see the 22nd running of the FIFA World Cup competition, and the second World Cup held in Asia. The entire cup is being held in 8 stadiums in Qatar during 64 matches between the 32 teams qualified.

Like many other Football Stadiums in Qatar, this one has been constructed for the 2022 FIFA World Cup held in Qatar this year. Close to the Education City Stadium are several university campuses at the Qatar Foundation’s Education City. In terms of capacity, the Education City Stadium has a 45,350-capacity prepared specially for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Following the FIFA World Cup, the stadium will retain 25,000 seats for use by university athletic teams.

Education City Stadium
© Qatar Foundation

When was the Education City Stadium inaugurated?

On 15th June 2020, the Education City Football Stadium has been opened to the public. Four months later, on 3rd September 2020, the stadium hosted its first official match, played in the 2020–21 Qatar Stars League season.

Located on the outskirts of the capital Doha, the Education City Stadium has been nicknamed the “Diamond in the Desert”. In May 2019, Education City Stadium received a five-star GSAS rating, after more than 20% of its building materials were identified as being environmentally friendly. Because of these reasons, the Education City Stadium is among the world’s most environmentally sustainable stadiums. In terms of construction, the lead designer architect was Pattern Design, while the building contractor was JPAC JV for the building. Regarding the engineering design, that was the role of Buro Happold.

Regarding the sustainability aspect, the green architecture, the parks, and the LEED-certified buildings, including the countless sustainable initiatives, such as the Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) and Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), prove that Qatar, through the Education City Football Stadium and campus, has a strong commitment to sustainability. All of them clearly promote and are focused on a healthy future, and environmentally friendly sporting spaces.

© pattern-architects

As claimed by Qatar Foundation, the Education City Stadium has a design that “draws on the rich history of Islamic architecture, blending it with striking modernity”. As previously mentioned, the stadium is also popularly known as the “Diamond in the Desert” because of the signification of its design that represents, as the Qatar Foundation states, “quality, durability, and resilience, and will become something to be treasured in the times to come”. In terms of architecture, the façade features triangles that form complex, diamond-esque geometrical patterns, appearing to change color with the sun’s movement across the sky.

According to FIFA, the Education City Stadium is surrounded by leading universities and ground-breaking research, being in the hub of innovation. The football stadium has high values regarding sustainability and the future, considering its unique cooling system and the green spaces that surround it. For a better fan experience, the stadium is extremely close to the city center, respectively only 7km. Moreover, fans will be able to enjoy a golf course and a variety of shops.

On the same topic of location, the Qatar Foundation discusses the Education City Stadium’s position as being chosen with accessibility in mind, particularly for fans with disabilities because when they arrive at the stadium, they only travel “a short distance to their seats along shaded, tree-lined paths—giving them just enough time to enjoy a spectacular view of the venue”.

Visitors will notice that the environmentally friendly focus starts well before they arrive. They’ll be able to take the Doha Metro to Education City and the tram directly to the stadium, significantly reducing the number of cars on the road on match days. There are also cycle paths and bike racks throughout Education City, encouraging people to choose a method of transport that’s better for them and the environment.

What matches did or will the Education City Stadium host?

For the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Education City Stadium hosts matches in Groups D, H, and C, including the match between the Winners of Group F and the Runners-up of Group E in the Round of 16, and the match between the Winners of the Match 53 and the Winners of Match 54 in the Quarterfinals. The countries that are included are Denmark, Tunisia, Uruguay, South Korea, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, France, and Portugal.

Starting with a match between Denmark and Tunisia on 22 November 2022, at 16:00, while two days after this, respectively on 24 November, at the same hour, Uruguay and South Korea will play on Education City Stadium. On 26 November, at 16:00, Poland versus Saudi Arabia, and on 28 November, at the same hour, South Korea, and Ghana. Education City Stadium will host the match between Tunisia and France on 30 November, at 18:00, and the final match of the groups – on 2nd December, at 18:00, South Korea versus Portugal. Also, the Education City Football Stadium will host the match between the Winners of Group F and the Runners-up of Group E in the Round of 16 on 6 December, at 18:00. The last match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosted on the Education City Stadium is the one on 9 December, at 18:00, between the Winners of Match 53 and the Winners of Match 54 in the Quarterfinals.  

Even before its opening, the Education City Stadium was an option for important events. Having the tournament in Qatar, FIFA announced on 30 September 2019 that Education City Stadium will be hosting the third-place match and final of the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup. Another important match would have been Liverpool’s first match in the semi-finals, but on 7 December 2019, the official opening of Education City Stadium was postponed until early 2020. However, Liverpool’s matches, including the opener, final, and third-place match were moved to the Khalifa International Football Stadium in Doha.

The 2020 FIFA Club World Cup was once again held in Qatar, having the Education City Stadium as one of its venues. One second-round match, one semi-final match, the third-place match, and the final between Bayern Munich and UANL all took place in the stadium. In the same year, in 2020, the Education City Stadium hosted the East and West Zone matches of the 2020 AFC Champions League. Also, during the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup, the Education City Stadium hosted five matches.

What other issues are related to the Education City Stadium?

Similarly, to the Al Janoub Stadium, the Education City Stadium has been subject to controversy on account of the treatment and status of migrant workers employed at the construction sites.

According to the Amnesty International report from 2021, Qatar passed two new laws which “aimed to end restrictions on migrant workers leaving the country or changing jobs without their employer’s permission”. However, Amnesty International claimed that these laws were not exactly applied in the proper manner, while the employees in those situations were still bound to their employers. For instance, as the Sport Resolutions website reported, there was one migrant worker who said that she wanted to change jobs; however, she was told that she would have to pay 6,000 Qatari riyals (£1,200) for a no-objection certificate, or, if not, she would have been sent home. Considering that the sum they were asking for was more than five times her monthly salary, the allegations angered many fans.

On this issue, Mark Dummett, the Global Issues Programme Director, said that the previous example is one that happened to thousands of workers, who were at continued risk of exploitation by unscrupulous employers, many of them trying to change jobs and facing wage theft. However, the Global Issues Programme Director highlighted the uncertainty regarding the situations of these migrant workers which could become even worse after the 2022 Football World Cup.

However, on 15 March 2022, FIFA President met with Dr. Ali bin Samikh Al Marri, the Qatari Minister of Labor, and discussed the labor reforms that were being conducted in Qatar. Following this discussion, Infantino addressed in an interview the issues, mentioning the positivity of the situation, regarding how the Qatari authorities ensured that the reforms were fully implemented across the labor market. This meant that they were leaving, through this action, a long-lasting legacy of the 2022 FIFA World Cup after this event, while the migrant workers in Qatar will benefit in long term.

On 5 October 2022, the head of the International Trade Union Confederation claimed that Qatar has changed substantially regarding the way it conducts foreign employees and is now qualified to host the World Cup in 2022. Qatar received a barrage of criticism in the past for its track record over how it treats foreign workers prior to the start of the international competition on November 20.

Sharan Burrow, the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, said after the situation to AFP that they said in 2015 that a World Cup without workers’ rights is not possible. However, the issues were resolved, and the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation advised fans to see the World Cup because the rights of the migrant workers were respected. He rejected the idea of 6,000 migrant workers being dead over the past decade in Qatar due to working conditions, calling it a “myth”. However, according to the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Sharan Burrow, Qatar “still has to make progress on implementing the new laws” regarding the right of migrant workers.

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