Qatar has revealed the design of the sixth stadium proposed for the 2022 World Cup. Developed by a local architect, the look of the Al Thumama Stadium is inspired by the "gahfiya", a traditional-style cap for men.
Officials said the design showcases local talent and should foster Arab solidarity in the Gulf, which is faced with diplomatic tensions.
"We’ve always been very careful to combine the past with the future in our designs. The gahfiya is a continuation of that theme. It’s a blend of our heritage and culture, and a commitment to the future," said Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.
Al Thawadi added that the Al Thumama project would shine a light on Qatari talent, as it is designed by Qatari architect Ibrahim M. Jaidah, Chief Architect of Arab Engineering Bureau (AEB), the company responsible for the schematic design.
Al Thumama Stadium will hold 40,000 fans for the 2022 tournament. Construction has already begun, with the stadium due to be completed in 2020. The main contractor is a joint-venture between Qatari company Al Jaber Engineering and Turkey’s Tekfen Construction.
AEB is the oldest architectural and engineering firm in Qatar.
Al Thumama Stadium will be built on pitches currently used by the Qatar Football Association. The Al Thumama district is located in Doha’s southern suburbs, 12km from Hamad International Airport.
The stadium’s capacity will be reduced to 20,000 after the World Cup.
"In Qatari culture, the gahfiya forms an important part of every young boy’s pathway to adulthood," said the architect, Ibrahim M. Jaidah.
He added: "This rite of passage inspired my vision for the stadium’s design. It is an arena that symbolises Qatar’s youth and its emergence as a major player on the global sporting scene, ready to welcome the world in 2022."
The design was revealed amid a tense diplomatic standoff between Qatar and some Gulf neighbours led by Saudi Arabia. A Qatari World Cup official said the design would be a reminder of the "historical bonds that unite the Arab world as one people".
Image: Al Thumama Stadium is inspired by the "gahfiya", a traditional-style cap for men (Fifa.com)