FIFA agreed to cut the host venue list from 12 to as few as 8 stadiums. Despite 9 months passing since that decision, final selection of arenas is yet to be determined.
Just as a reminder, last year in May FIFA agreed for Qatar to reduce number of stadiums required for the 2022 World Cup. Instead of the demanded 12 venues, the tiny emirate may prepare 8-10 stadiums.
This caused further controversy, because both FIFA and Qatar assured upon host selection the country will be able to hold a regular-size World Cup despite its extremely small size.
When Qatar submitted their bid, 12 stadiums were suggested, with 10 of them in or around Doha (while FIFA requirement allowed no more than 2 host stadiums per city).
It’s almost certain that the final list won’t span across 12 stadia, but how many will there be? That isn’t clear. In an interview with Construction Week, Dario Antonio Cadavid, the committee's senior manager for technical assurance and integration, said: “We are still developing studies for the exact number that the 2022 World Cup will require.
“So far, we are prioritising the first eight, but that doesn’t mean we end up with eight. The final number will come out later when we have finalised our studies.”
The list-cutting needs to be analysed not only to avoid criticism, but also because of the limitations it brings. With 8-10 stadiums each of them would need to host more games than planned. This raises fears over traffic gridlock when large masses of fans migrate. Inside the stadiums both the natural turf fields and cooling systems would see their durability challenged.
Currently construction is ongoing at only one stadium, the one in Al Wakrah (pictured), commonly nicknamed ‘vagina stadium’ to the despair of architect Zaha Hadid. Also secure is the expansion of Khalifa Stadium, while design work was already commissioned for Al Rayyan stadium upgrade. Another one expected to get underway is the new national stadium in Lusail. Overall this year we should see work begin on five stadiums.