Stadium 974 – 2022 FIFA World Cup Stadium

One of the eight football stadiums is Stadium 974 from Qatar, formerly known as Ras Abu Aboud Stadium. The same as other stadiums in Qatar, Stadium 974 has been opened especially for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, being a temporary venue made from 974 recycled shipping containers.

This year, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be hosted by Qatar. Considering the intense heat in the summer in Qatar, the FIFA and Qatar officials chose to have the matches on 20 November, while the Football World Cup 2022 finishes on 18 December 2022. This is the second FIFA World Cup held in Asia and the 22nd running of the FIFA World Cup competition. For this tournament, thirty-two teams are qualified to play in eight stadiums in Qatar across sixty-four matches. After the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Stadium 974 will be dismantled. Because of these reasons, Stadium 974 is the first temporary venue in FIFA World Cup history.

In terms of accessing Stadium 974, the spectators can access the venue by using the Doha Metro. Ras Bu Abboud Station (Gold Line) is located 800m away from the stadium. It is also near the Doha Corniche and can be reached through the newly developed pedestrian walkways.

© Ashwin Muralidharan

What about the design and construction of Stadium 974?

Well, according to many Qatari newspapers, Stadium 974 was designed by Fenwick Iribarren Architects, being constructed on a 450,000 square-meter waterfront site and is situated on an artificial promontory. Incorporating 974 recycled shipping containers in homage to the site’s industrial history and the international dialing code for Qatar (+974), Stadium 974 has a modular design.

In terms of the containers, some of them house stadium amenities, such as bathrooms and concessions, while all the containers, including the seats used for Stadium 974 will be disassembled. Considering that Stadium 974 is the first temporary venue in FIFA World Cup’s history, the disassembled shipping containers and seats will be provided as assistance to other under-developed countries in the world, especially in the football industry.

Regarding the construction of Stadium 974, the procurement process for the stadium conversion began in 2017. From the beginning, since its construction, Stadium 974 was prepared to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and as mentioned previously, to be the first temporary venue in FIFA World Cup’s history. In terms of constructing this football stadium, it involved HBK Contracting Company (HBK), DCB-QA, Time Qatar, Fenwick Iribarren Architects (FI-A), Schlaich Bergermann Partner, and Hilson Maron.

According to HBK’s history, it was established in 1970 with the purpose of undertaking civil construction Qatari projects, while having the positive goal of contributing to the progression of the Qatari economy. HBK is also one of the first companies in Qatari to be appointed for a 2022 FIFA World Cup venue as the Main Contractor, even if HBK has already delivered the enabling works for Al Wakrah Stadium successfully, being the main contractor of another 2022 FIFA World Cup, respectively the Lusail Stadium.

The Football Stadium 974 was initially announced as being named Ras Abu Aboud Stadium; however, during the launch event on 20 November 2021, the Stadium 974 was officially named under its current one. The football stadium’s capacity of 40,000-tournament capacity was unveiled during a digital launch in November 2021. After being dismantled there are plans for the stadium to be transported and rebuilt in Maldonado, Uruguay to host matches for the 2030 FIFA World Cup if the country’s bid proves successful.

There are many reasons why this football stadium is named in this way. Firstly, because of the number of 974 materials used for its construction, respectively the shipping containers. Secondly, the number 974 is especially significant for the country because it is the dialing code for Qatar. Thirdly, the name also reflects Stadium 974’s strategic position, being closely located at the Hamad International Airport, the Doha Port, and the Doha Airport. During a speech, the Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Hassan Al Thawadi, mentioned that Stadium 974 offers “the perfect legacy, capable of being reassembled in a new location in its entirety or built into numerous small sports and cultural venues”.

Appreciating once again the sustainability features of Stadium 974, H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, the Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, claimed that he was pleased with this design and assured that Stadium 974 will become a blueprint for future mega-event planners to follow. Consequently, because of being sustainable, Stadium 974 will surely deliver an outstanding experience to the spectators of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

In terms of the design, the choice of a modular design required fewer materials, and created less waste, while reducing the overall carbon footprint compared to a traditional building process. Also, this choice of a modular design also reduced the construction time to as little as three years.

During his speech, Mark Fenwick, the FI-A Senior Partner, and architect, also said that they were confident that the innovative and sustainable concept of the construction of Stadium 974 can be a great and stable inspiration for other architects and developers from the football stadiums industry that can offer both an aesthetic-pleasing stadium, and a great fan experience. Also, because of having high standards and clear plans, the construction of Stadium 974 took less time than other stadiums’ constructions normally, reducing also the cost of the construction because of the materials used.

In terms of the materials used, there are reports saying that there have been used environmentally friendly, easy-to-use, and reusable components in the construction of Football Stadium 974. There were reports regarding the use of concrete as well; however, this has been used only in the foundations of Football Stadium 974. In terms of containers, they used around one hundred containers and around 27,000 tons of steel. All these components are known to be disassembled and used for another football stadiums in developing countries to help the football infrastructure around the world. Also, because of these features of Stadium 974, it is the first fully demountable FIFA World Cup stadium in history. Located in a 450,000m² water-front site with exceptional views over Doha’s skyline, the stadium will host matches up to the quarterfinals in 2022.

Stadium 974
© Ashwin Muralidharan

The Chairman of the SC’s Technical Delivery Office, Eng. Hilal Al Kuwari, recognized his appreciation regarding seeing a Qatari company taking the lead on the project of constructing Stadium 974, while he was also happy main works were already happening at the time of his speech. Also, he recognized the importance of a local company to deliver this innovation, being the “world-first stadium is in line with our commitment to contribute to Qatar’s economic legacy after the tournament”.

Eng. Hilal Al Kuwari, the Chairman of the SC’s Technical Delivery Office, also mentioned that as a Qatari company, they were proud of taking a key role in Qatari’s preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, claiming that their company will do everything that is possible to have a 2022 FIFA World Cup successful tournament. He also mentioned that they are extremely happy to contribute to Qatar’s long-term National Vision 2030, delivered under Amir’s trusted leadership.

The SC’s Ras Abu Aboud Stadium Project Manager, Mohammed A. Al Mulla said during an interview that the project for the construction of the Stadium 974 is something that has not been done before, considering its scale, being automatically a technically challenging project. The construction of the Stadium 974, formerly known as the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium began in late 2017, the Time Qatar as the project manager. Mohammed A. Al Mulla, the SC’s Ras Abu Aboud Stadium Project Manager, continued in his speech by saying that when the 2022 FIFA World Cup will begin, and the 40,000 spectators will come to Stadium 974 to see the matches of the tournament, all the technical challenges will be worth it.

Regarding the design, Hassan Al Thawadi, the SC Secretary General, said that innovation was always the center of the plans for the construction of Stadium 974 which will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He continued by mentioning that this project “leaves a legacy for Qatar and the world, and there is no better example of this than the design of Ras Abu Aboud Stadium”. He also recognized that the football Stadium 974 represents a venue that can be easily disassembled and relocated for other cultural, or sports events.

On the same aspect of the design, Mark Fenwick, the senior partner, and architect at Fenwick Iribarren Architects mentioned that their company is also extremely happy to be part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup project of constructing Stadium 974, and was immensely proud that their design for this football stadium will be a historic icon because of being the first-ever moveable and reusable FIFA World Cup venue. He continued by saying that they are confident that their innovative and sustainable concept became an inspiration for other stadium developers and architects from other countries that could be capable of creating aesthetically pleasing venues that offer new legacy possibilities.

Also, the Chairman of the Technical Delivery Office at the SC, engineer Hilal Jeham Al Kuwari, mentioned that the launch of the Stadium 974 design was delayed by three months in comparison to the launch of the Al Thumama Stadium, and after six months since the inauguration of the Khalifa International Stadium which has also been renovated. He continued by adding that “this succession of positive announcements highlights the continued progress being made on all World Cup projects, which have not been impacted by the illegal blockade on the State of Qatar. All our projects are progressing per the schedule and will be delivered by their target completion dates.”

What matches did and will Stadium 974 host?

On 30 November 2021, Football Stadium 974 hosted its first match between the United Arab Emirates and Syria. This match represented the first one on the opening day of the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup. During the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup, Stadium 974 hosted five matches. Later in the same year, on 30 November 2021, UAE versus Syria played at Stadium 974, resulting in UAE’s victory 2-1. On 3rd December 2021, Stadium 974 hosted the match between Mauritania versus UAE that resulted in UAE’s victory 0-1. During the same year, on 7 December 2021, Jordan versus Palestine played at Stadium 974, finishing with Jordan’s sure victory 5-1.

As the last match during the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup, Sudan versus Egypt played on Stadium 974, being the last match of the groups hosted by this football stadium and finishing with Egypt’s victory 0-5. The semi-finals of the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup were held at Stadium 974 between Tunisia and Egypt on 15 December 2021, a match that finished with Tunisia’s victory 1-0. Also, the Third-place play-off was hosted by the football Stadium 974, played between Egypt and Qatar on 18 December 2021, finishing with 4 (0)-(0) five.

In terms of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Stadium 974 is one of the eight stadiums in Qatar that will host important matches from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. On Stadium 974, there will be matches in groups C, H, D, and G, including the following countries: Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Ghana, Denmark, France, Brazil, Switzerland, Argentina, and Poland. Apart from the group stage, Stadium 974 will host one of the matches from the Round of sixteen, respectively the one on 5th December, at 22:00, between the Winners of the Group G, and the Runners-up of Group H.

DateTimeTeam No. 1Team No. 2Round
22 November 202219:00MexicoPolandGroup C
24 November 202219:00PortugalGhanaGroup H
26 November 202219:00FranceDenmarkGroup D
28 November 202219:00BrazilSwitzerlandGroup G
30 November 202222:00PolandArgentinaGroup C
2 December 202222:00SerbiaSwitzerlandGroup G
5 December 202222:00Winners Group GRunners-up Group HRound of 16

What are the legacy and sustainability plans of Stadium 974?

Keeping sustainability in mind when constructing this football stadium, it received a four-star rating from the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS). The first-ever FIFA complaint stadium that can be fully dismantled and re-purposed post-event. This includes flexibility in the design to rebuild the stadium with the same capacity in a different location or build multiple smaller venues using the same materials.

Because the construction involved stadium bowl seating, then this feature avoids the need for air conditioning as it is designed to be naturally ventilated. The overall stadium steel structure can be recycled and reused post-tournament, based on any legacy option that is selected. In terms of consumption of water, Stadium 974’s water efficiency methods ensure it reduces water use by 40% compared to a conventional stadium development.

One of the most interesting features of Stadium 974 is that it is naturally ventilated due to its design and its location is close to the seafront. This automatically means that Stadium 974 will be the only 2022 FIFA World Cup venue that does not have a cooling system technology; however, due to its natural ventilation, Stadium 974 does not need a cooling system. Given that there is no need for cooling tech, combined with the stadium’s efficient design, means water use at the venue has been reduced by almost 40 percent.

Stadium 974’s construction signals the organizer’s intention that Qatar 2022 is the most environmentally friendly tournament ever staged. Stadium 974 is the first stadium to be fully demountable in the history of the FIFA World Cup. That means it can be sustainably removed and reconstructed after the competition. However, it is not yet clear if the dismantled stadium will be relocated or repurposed as a series of smaller stadia.

Its modular construction kept building costs, time, and waste materials to a minimum. It also lowered the stadium’s initial and lifetime carbon footprint. Organizers believe that the development reduced water use by 40% compared to conventional builds. Hilson Moran has explained how the construction’s unusual approach to its mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements drew inspiration from the automotive industry.

Also, See: FIFA World Cup History

According to StadiumDB, the stadium was built in the Ras Abu Aboud district located in the eastern part of the Qatari capital. The venue erected on an artificial promontory is a temporary structure that will be dismantled after the end of the World Cup 2022. Never has a World Cup stadium been closed immediately after the event. Environmental operations related to the preparation of the site for construction began in mid-October 2017. All earthworks were completed by July 2019. Then the first batch of shipping containers arrived, ready for installation.

The main works started in 2019 and proceeded without major disruptions. The applied engineering solutions resulted in the completion of the main structure of the arena in March 2021. A month later, the turf-laying process began. In the end, fewer materials were used than in the case of traditional construction. This was achieved thanks to the installation of ready-made components.

The stadium was built on a rectangular plan with clearly rounded edges. From the outside, the venue gives the impression of being made of giant Lego bricks in assorted colors. Such an effect was achieved thanks to modular steel elements and containers that serve as the backup facilities of the stadium. The entire project is a tribute to the nearby port and Doha’s maritime traditions.

What other issues are related to Stadium 974?

Accusations of corruption were leveled at the selection process, resulting in an internal investigation at FIFA that cleared Qatar of wrongdoing. However, chief investigator Michael J. Garcia subsequently described the report based on his inquiry as containing “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations”.

The controversies have cast a significant shadow over a tournament many hoped would be famous for its positive agenda. It is particularly acute for the first World Cup following the Covid pandemic. It feels like a long time since 2010 – the year Qatar won the rights to host the competition and unveiled an ambitious plan for five proposed stadia that would reflect its culture and history.

According to the report published by Amnesty International on their official website on 26 August 2021, it is reported that “thousands of migrant workers have died suddenly and unexpectedly in Qatar, despite passing their mandatory medical tests before traveling to the country”. Claiming that most workers died due to the bad working conditions, Amnesty International described in detail the situations of a few deceased migrant workers. There was Mohammad Kaochar Khan amongst them, a plasterer on a construction site who was found dead in his bed on 15 November 2017. Another one was Yam Bahadur Rana, a security guard at the airport; a job that involved long hours sitting in the intense Qatari heat. He died at work. Sujan Miah, a pipe fitter on a project in the desert, was found unresponsive in the bed in the morning of 24 September 2020 after working in temperatures that exceeded 40°C in the four days before he died.

Considering their findings, Amnesty International called on the Qatari authorities to firstly strengthen the 2021 Ministerial Decision on heat stress “to ensure that employers are required to provide outdoor workers with breaks of an appropriate duration, in cooled, shaded areas, when there is an occupational risk of heat stress”, as well as receiving break times during the intense heat periods. Another request was to establish a specialist team of medical examiners and provide compensation to the families of the migrant workers who died after being exposed to high temperatures at work. Lastly, they asked the Qatari officials to conduct a transparent investigation into the causes of the past migrant workers’ deaths and establish mechanisms to fix the issues. In terms of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Amnesty International asked FIFA and the players to push the Qatari government to follow and accept these recommendations.

Since the Amnesty International report from 2021 was published, football players from Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands have all staged protests against the human rights abuses in Qatar. Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s Chief Executive, has raised the concerns and advised everyone to investigate the issues accordingly because these issues regarding the migrant workers have already cast a dark shadow over the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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