2022 World Cup: Qatar opens first newly built stadium

The first freshly built stadium for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will host its maiden match on Thursday when Al Sadd face Al Duhail in the Amir Cup final.

The Al Wakrah Stadium, south of the capital Doha, is designed in the shape of a traditional sailing boat from the region and has a capacity of around 40,000.

It is the second venue to be completed for the World Cup following the renovation of the Khalifa International Stadium two years ago.

However, Qatar has been criticised by humans rights groups over the conditions for workers involved in building projects related to the competition.

All eight stadiums to be used in the tournament will have air conditioning to regulate the temperature on the pitch and in the stands, a necessity despite the World Cup being moved to the cooler months of November and December.

Gianni Infantino, president of world governing body FIFA, remains hopeful of increasing the size of the event from 32 teams to 48.

This would require another country to step in as co-hosts with Kuwait and Oman considered possibilities to supply up to four match venues.

Several of Qatar’s neighbours, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, are blockading the country over accusations, denied by Doha, of supporting terrorism. 

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