LONDON, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Qatar unveiled its ultra-modern
Lusail Stadium on Wednesday which would host the opening match
and World Cup final in 2022 if its bid to stage the tournament
wins FIFA's approval in December.
The air-conditioned stadium, which would have a capacity of
86,000, would take four years to build, would be expected to be
completed by 2019 and would also be surrounded by water. If
Qatar loses its bid, the ground will not be built.
Bid CEO chairman Hassan Al-Thawadi told Reuters at the
Leaders in Football conference that with eight weeks to go
before FIFA make their decision, he was optimistic that Qatar
could stage the first World Cup in the Middle East.
Qatar's candidature received some criticism from FIFA's
inspection team last month when Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the head
of the FIFA delegation, said that the country's small size,
rather than the summer temperatures that can soar to above 50C
degrees, could cause logistical problems.
Qatar would become the smallest host nation to stage the
finals since Uruguay hosted the first World Cup in 1930 if it
won FIFA's approval.
However, Al Thawadi said his team had responded
to the inspection team's observations.
"If you look at their comments, they did not refer to the
weather and for us that was a great, great success. A lot of
people thought that our Achilles heel was the weather, but we
have proved with our air-conditioned technology, we can overcome
"Regarding some of their comments regarding logistics and so
on - we are proposing a unique and innovative concept - a
compact World Cup (because of the size of the country).
"Whenever you are pioneering a new concept it requires time
for people to understand it. There will be sceptics, and they
are right to be sceptical. They raised their concerns, but we
think although those concerns might be valid, we are able to
The Lusail Stadium completes the line-up of the 12 stadiums
Qatar would use in 2022 and would incorporate the
air-conditioning technology the country has pioneered to make
their stadiums more comfortable.
Qatar is one of four bids for the 2022 finals along with
Australia, South Korea and Japan. They are spending $4 billion
dollars building nine new stadiums and renovating three others.
Due to the format of the FIFA bidding process, the five bids
trying to host the 2018 finals are also going for 2022 - in
theory at least - with England, Russia, the United States and
joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands in
All bidding nations presented their candidatures before
delegates at the conference, apart from Australia.
The bidding war for the World Cup is beginning to intensify
with FIFA president Sepp Blatter planning to visit British Prime
Minister David Cameron in London next week.
FIFA will announce which countries will stage each event in
Zurich on December 2.
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