The first ever non permanent stadium in World Cup history, Stadium 974, was finally inaugurated yesterday in the opening match of group B in FIFA Arab Cup 2021.
The stadium was previously known as Ras Abu Aboud, referring to the name of the area. However, after construction completion prior to the tournament, it was eventually renamed as Stadium 974. The number is a international calling code of Qatar, which represents the nature of the venue's location, as the international port and gate for all the global guests. It is also situated only 4 km away from Hamad International Airport.
During the inauguration, the Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), HE Hassan Al Thawady, made a statement on this unique venue:
"Stadium 974 is a beacon of innovation and sustainability. We are sure fans from all over the world will enjoy visiting these state-of-the-art venues during both the Arab Cup and next year’s World Cup.”
This stadium is the first ever demountable venue in the world cup or probably in football history as its main materials are shipping containers. The number in the stadium's name is, in fact, also the actual number of containers used for building this innovative eco-friendly venue. Its design and construction reduces the waste plus the use of building's cooling system since it optimises the natural cool breeze from its location on the seashore. No wonder that this venue was awarded four-star in global sustainability assessment system (GSAS) certification.
The idea of this construction, as Mohammed Al Mulla, the stadium 974 precinct director stated, came from the Lego sets, whereas the design was laid out by Fenwick Iribarren Architect, the architecture firm based in Madrid, Spain. It is the same firm which dealt with the construction of Education City Stadium and Al-Thumama Stadium for Qatar 2022. Previously, they have built RCD Arena, the home ground of Espanyol and New Europa Point Stadium in Gibraltar, the home turf of Gibraltar national team.
This 40,000-seated stadium is scheduled to hold five more games in FIFA Arab Cup 2021 after the match between UAE and Syria, including the semi final and the third place play off. Next year, it will be hosting seven matches in the World Cup 2022 final round till the round of 16 stage.