The Aspire Zone Foundation, a stakeholder of the Supreme Committee for Delivery &
Legacy (SC), is leading the upgrade and renovation of Khalifa International
Stadium. The stadium will feature 40,000 seats for spectators in 2022, along
with a number of upgraded facilities. Qatari contractor Dar Al-Handasah serves
as the project’s construction supervision consultant, while Qatari contractor
Midmac will construct the stadium and precinct in a joint venture with Six
Construct Qatar, the local subsidiary of Belgian firm Besix. During the stadium
and precinct’s design phase, Projacs served as the project manager and Dar Al-Handasah
as the design consultant.
The sweeping arc and undulating roof of Khalifa International Stadium are visible from afar, providing a striking introduction to the Aspire Zone. Named after the former Emir, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani, Khalifa International Stadium forms an integral part of the vast sporting facility. Located approximately 14 kilometres from the centre of Doha, the Aspire Zone is the home to Aspire Academy, which is training many of the young players who are expected to form the backbone of Qatar’s 2022 squad. Aspetar, a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence credited with helping top footballers from around the world recover from injuries, is there too, as are numerous other world class sporting facilities.
The history of Khalifa International Stadium has mirrored Qatar’s growth and development. The stadium was the first of its kind in Qatar, and has been a source of pride and a symbol of the country’s sporting ambitions for generations of Qataris and the expatriates who happily call the country home. Originally built as a 20,000-seat stadium in 1976, Khalifa International Stadium hosted the Gulf Cup that year. It returned to hosting prominence in 1992, receiving an upgrade to again host the Gulf Cup.
As the pace of Qatar’s development quickened in the new millennium, the stadium again emerged as a national touchstone, gaining global renown. In 2006, Qatar brought the Asian Games, the world’s second-largest multiple-sport event, to the Middle East for the first time. With tens of thousands of spectators on hand, and a continental television audience tuning in at home for the opening ceremony, the stadium and the festivities secured Qatar’s reputation for hosting excellence.
Now a new chapter in the story of the nation and Khalifa International Stadium is being written. Qatar will host the first ever FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East. Khalifa International Stadium, already beloved by sports fans across the region and Asia, is expected to play an important role. The stadium is currently being redeveloped to fulfil all requirements for hosting major sporting events. In 2019, the stadium will be the host venue for the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships. It will also be capable of hosting FIFA World Cup™ matches through to the quarterfinals. Cooling technologies being installed will guarantee a comfortable fan experience and ideal conditions for players and match officials.
New facilities at the stadium will include the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, which will celebrate Qatar’s culture of sport and the global sports heritage represented by the Olympic Games. The museum, one of 22 members of the Olympic Museum Network, will feature interactive exhibits alongside historical objects, guaranteeing a wide audience and further cementing Qatar’s position as a centre of sporting excellence in the Middle East.
The renovation of Khalifa International Stadium is being undertaken in part to take advantage of green technologies that have blossomed in the years since the stadium was built. To ensure that Qatar achieves its goal of hosting an environmentally friendly FIFA World Cup™, Khalifa International Stadium will target Global Sustainability Assessment Systems (GSAS) certification. Underscoring Qatar’s commitment to sustainability, fans will have the option of taking the brand new metro to matches. Sports City station, located directly adjacent to Khalifa International Stadium, will prove crucial in reducing the tournament’s carbon footprint.
The Aspire Zone, Aspire Park and the other facilities surrounding Khalifa International Stadium are already beloved in Qatar for the range of sporting facilities they offer: not just for the elite athletes training and recuperating there, but also for catering to the fitness needs of all walks of life. The mix is so uniquely Qatar – families out for an evening stroll cross paths with marathoners training for the Olympic Games, while on the pitches that dot the grounds a European club trains for its next UEFA Champions League match alongside a spirited pick-up game played by local and expatriate football fans.
The redevelopment of Khalifa International Stadium, along with the Aspire Zone Foundation’s other expansion plans, ensure that the stadium and surrounding areas will remain sport and fitness destinations for generations to come, in line with the SC’s plans to create a long-lasting legacy of sporting development for Qatar.
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