Qatar reportedly has plans to repurpose or remove almost all of its World Cup stadiums
Argentina closed the 2022 World Cup with their thrilling victory over France on Sunday, ending a wild and often tumultuous event in Qatar.
With teams and fans now at home in their respective countries, eyes will turn away from the tiny Persian Gulf nation. So what will happen to the stadiums that Qatar spent billions on and built in time for the World Cup?
This question gets asked after every major global sporting event, and with good reason. Sometimes – like after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro – stadiums are completely deserted. For a country like Qatar, which is about the same size as Connecticut, it’s hard to see that the eight stadiums the country built in and around Doha would do much good.
After the country spent about $6.5 billion building the stadiums — and an unknown number of migrant workers died in the process — that can be disappointing.
However, Qatar appears to have plans to use its venues for more than just a single World Cup.
Qatar will host the 2023 Asian Football Cup, which has been relocated there from China due to COVID-19. Qatar will also host the Asian Games in 2030, an event similar to the Olympics. These will at least give the stadiums a second and third life, although venue capacities will be reduced and modified. Qatar is also preparing a bid to host the 2036 Olympics.
Qatar’s domestic football league will begin playing games in venues built for the World Cup, although they draw nowhere near the crowds seen at the event. Another, Education City Stadium, will serve students and faculty from local universities and schools.
However, some will be completely transformed into other things, according to Time. Al Bayat Stadium will be transformed into a five-star hotel, shopping mall, sports medicine hospital and more. Al Thumama Stadium will continue to host events but will be expanded to include a hotel, sports clinic and more.
Lusail Stadium, which has hosted 10 World Cup games including a semi-final and the final, will be transformed into a mixed residential and commercial center. Stadium 974 will also disappear completely. This stadium was built from 974 recycled shipping containers in one of the most unique and eco-friendly venues in the world. The containers will be shipped to another location, according to the report, and a waterfront business district will take its place.
Only the Khalifa International Stadium remains in its current form.
While Qatar may need more venues in the years and decades to come, depending on what major events land in the country, it won’t just leave those World Cup stadiums empty until that day comes. At least that’s the plan.