Lusail Stadium roof to raise the bar


Qatar Lusail Stadium update September 2020 Image: CRCCC

The 80,000-capacity Lusail Stadium in Qatar – which will host the final of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – will soon see its roof in place. The structure will be among the most challenging tensile cable roofs ever built.

Lusail Stadium is a stadium under construction in Lusail, Qatar. Construction of the venue officially began on April 11, 2017. Its final design was unveiled in December 2018.

However, there has been considerable delay in the delivery of the facility. First, it was supposed to be delivered in the early part of 2020. Then, it was moved from the early part of 2020 to the latter half of the year and then to 2021. And, now, the concerned officials are talking about delivering the stadium not before 2021-end. This means the venue will be delivered with just a year to go for the FIFA spectacle.

The Lusail Stadium will embody Qatar’s ambition and its passion for sharing Arab culture with the world. The design of this magnificent stadium is inspired by the interplay of light and shadow that characterizes the fanar (lantern).

Back in February, the stadium’s massive outer steel shell was completed and by April it became self-sustaining. The immense bowl based on 24 V-shaped sets of columns looks stunning with a diameter of over 300 meters (circa 310 m), with a circular footprint.

The outer shell is topped by the stadium’s thick compression ring, safely in place for months. More recently, the smaller tension ring was created on what will become the playing field in the future. As confirmed by the China Railway Construction Corporation, the stadium’s general contractor, both rings are now connected radially with steel cables.

Though the exact time frame for the big lift of the roof is not yet known, the China Railway Construction Corporation has confirmed works are entering the tackling stage. Once the whole exercise is through, the result will see one of the most impressive and magnificent tensile cable roofs ever, with 45,000 m2 of membrane providing shade for fans.

Work on the seeded lawn – which will be the future playing field – was done in August and it is at a shouting distance from the stadium. Good care will have to be taken of the grass and then it will finally be transported into the arena for the 2022 FIFA sporting showpiece.

A breath of fresh air

The month of August saw sweeping reforms in labor laws in Qatar, which will give teeth to the workforce in the Middle East country, largely from East Asia and Africa. Qatar is loosening its ‘kafala’ system, which for years has nearly enslaved workers under one employer, limiting their mobility, and even their desire to leave the country.

Among other reforms, workers will now be able to hunt for fresh jobs without the nod of their present employer. They can look for new jobs even before their present contract expires. While this is a laudable and significant step taken, which has invited praise even from the strong critics of Qatar, to name just Amnesty International, however, the above reforms are not enough to ensure that workers are free in the real sense of the term.

Qatari law will still view absconsion as a criminal offence, which means leaving a job without the employer’s permission. The above labor law reforms will come into effect six months from now. By that time, all major projects for the FIFA showpiece will be through. This makes clear the fact that the Qatari authorities have brought in the changes in such a manner so that no stumbling block comes up till the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ preparations are nearly complete.

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