Qatar begins site preparation works on Al Wakrah, the first World Cup stadium

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Al Wakrah stadium

Qatar on Tuesday (May 20, 2014) began site preparation works on the first stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™, according to an AFP report. Evacuation work to lay the foundations got underway with the construction of the Al Wakrah stadium, 15km south of Doha, to begin in September. The 40,000-seater stadium is expected to be completed in 2018, four years before the tournament begins.

Following the completion of early stage works by AMANA, Qatari firm HBK Contracting has now begun on excavation and site preparation works ahead of foundations being laid at the site in September. This latest phase of work is expected to be completed by March 2015.

According to a press release from Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), “Foundation works will be marked by a ceremony in September followed by the announcement of the main construction company at the end of the year. A new firm is expected to come on board in this second phase, partnering with a local business, in line with the Supreme Committee’s effort to boost the expansion of the Qatar economy.”

A main contractor, which is likely to be a joint venture between an international firm and a local company, is expected to be announced by the end of the year.

The 40,000-seat Al Wakrah stadium is the first of five stadiums that are currently in the pipeline. It is the centrepiece of a 560,000 square metre (60-hectare) precinct, with a new sports centre and a community hub featuring elements including a park, mosque, school, hotel, wedding hall, vocational training centre and local retail.

“Aligned with Qatar’s National Vision 2030, this new precinct will embrace the cultural heritage of Al Wakrah and the adjacent historical settlement of Al Wukair, incorporating this identity into the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup™ fan experience. In addition, the project will stimulate the city’s economic development, while providing a series of facilities that will improve the community’s overall quality of life,” says the SC press release.

Once the tournament completes, the stadium’s capacity will be reduced by 20,000 and it will become home to the Al Wakrah Sports Club. Extra modular seating will be removed and donated to poorer countries in need of better sports infrastructure.

The stadium has been designed by London-based Zaha Hadid Architects, with Aecom serving as supervision architects. Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid, who won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004, is considered one of the world’s best female architects. Hadid’s striking design of Al Wakrah is meant to resemble an ancient dhow boat that Qataris traditionally used for pearl diving.

HBK, alongside other contractors working on world cup projects, have signed up to SC’s Worker Welfare terms as part of its contract. HBK have given their commitment to respect the welfare of workers ‘in accordance with the labour law of Qatar and international best practices that protect workers’ rights.

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