February 1, 2023

Glenn Crooks, Reporting from Qatar

Stadium 974

Contemplating the variety of stadiums designed and constructed solely for earlier World Cups and not using a post-tournament formulation to be used – sometimes called White Elephants – the Stadium 974 in Qatar is a revelation.

Situated within the Ras Abu Aboud area of Doha, Stadium 974 is a transportable stadium constructed with recycled delivery containers, impressed by their close by port.

The 974 represents the variety of containers utilized in meeting and can also be the worldwide dialing code for Qatar.

I attended the primary of 4 matches hosted on the non permanent venue, the 0-0 draw contested by Mexico and Poland on Tuesday. The acoustics within the tight quarters lent itself to deafening roars – particularly from the Mexican supporters who comprised 90-percent of the gathering. The photographs and movies share a glimpse of the El Tri ardour.

The final three World Cups in South Africa (2010), Brazil (2014) and Russia (2018) offered taxpayers with under-used stadiums that usually has no native group to say – billions of {dollars} for infrastructure laid to relaxation.

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Qatar insisted that they may don’t have any White Elephants.

As an illustration, The 40,000-capacity Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, is dwelling to Al Rayyan within the 12-team Qatar Tremendous League and to second-tier Al-Kharitiyath Sports activities Membership.

However one of the best instance of resourceful software among the many seven new stadiums is Stadium 974. Will probably be disassembled after the World Cup Last on December 18 after which transported and reassembled for additional use.

There have been stories that if Uruguay’s bid to host the 2030 is profitable, Stadium 974 will likely be one in every of their websites.

I had learn in regards to the construction however the view of it stay is sort of extraordinary. The photographs listed below are from my walk-up to the stadium plus different containers on the within of the construction that function loos and concession stands.

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The Souq Waqif

On my method to the Mexico-Poland tussle, I ended to discover Souq Waqif, a market in Doha.

The Mexican contingent – just like the match – prevailed on the streets and within the out of doors cafés. Nevertheless it was the euphoric cheers dominating the second that Saudi Arabia recorded what will be the most shocking lead to World Cup historical past. Their 2-1 over Argentina despatched waves of Saudi’s to the cobblestone streets to have fun whereas I sipped on my Turkish espresso.

Earlier, I bought tamarind juice from a avenue vendor whose {hardware} and approach have been price recording the encounter.

Then I met two Welsh brothers who have been happy with the 1-1 consequence towards the U.S.

The flag they carried represented their city membership in South Wales 45 miles from the capital, Cardiff. That they had requested me to take their image after which had a dialog about their expertise.

James Copeland is the supervisor/coach at Abergavenny – he’s performed there for 30 years. Youthful brother Tom is a 25-year member of the decrease division membership with two coaching classes per week and a Saturday match. Presently, Abergavenny are high of the desk.

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And they’re a part of a considerable group of supporters – the Pink Wall that includes their bucket hats.

Tom defined that singing the nationwide anthem previous to kickoff had a particular significance after a 64-year absence from the World Cup.

“It’s truly the primary time it (Wales Nationwide Anthem) has been sung on the World Cup,” he stated.


The bucket hats have been a vital function for the final decade – however in Qatar there was disappointment coupled with anger when rainbow bucket hats to assist LBGTQ+ rights have been confiscated.

Former Wales worldwide footballer Laura McAllister, now a professor at Cardiff College, wrote on Twitter: “So, regardless of wonderful phrases from @FIFAWorldCup earlier than occasion, @Cymru rainbow bucket hats confiscated at stadium, mine included.”

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