In line with the sustainability strategy at the heart of the sporting mega-event, Qatar has unveiled a dismountable stadium for the FIFA 2022 World Cup that will take place from November 21 to December 18, 2022.
The sustainable stadium was named Stadium 974 after the country dialing code and after the number of ocean shipping containers used to erect it. Stadium 974 is mainly built from recycled or recyclable materials and it can be dismantled afterward and reassembled elsewhere. The plan is to take it down and move it somewhere else after the 2022 World Cup ends next December, when the stadium will no longer be needed. The stadium will be one of the eight World Cup stadiums hosting 32 national teams in a total of 64 matches.
According to Zeina Khalil Hajj, an organizer for a global organization focused on the climate crisis, the Stadium 974 is “useful” compared to all other big stadiums created around the world and left there unused after the tournament. “If you look at all the criticism for all of the big stadiums created around the world — and nobody uses them later on — this is, well, it’s useful,” she said.
However, some activists have labeled the stadium as a “clever public relations move” for a country that emits the greatest amount of CO2 per person on the planet. According to Bodour Al-Meer, head of sustainability for Qatar’s local organizing committee, Qatar is trying to reach a balance between growth and the environment. Qatar FIFA World Cup Sustainability Strategy focuses on the reduction of emissions, energy efficient stadiums, low transportation costs, and sustainable waste management practices. “Our vision for our country is to have harmony between economic growth, social development and environmental protections,” said Al-Meer speaking with DW. She added that the environmental focus of the FIFA World Cup Sustainability Strategy is in perfect alignment with the country’s sustainability goals.
However, Qatar has received criticism from environmentalists who have labeled its sustainability Strategy as “greenwashing.” According to Phillipp Sommer, director of circular economy for Environmental Action Germany, building a stadium for only one purpose is unnecessary. “To build a new stadium just for this event and to already plan that it will not be used again because you don’t need it anymore, yeah, it’s not a really sustainable thing,” he said to DW. Sommer added that offsetting emissions by planting trees instead of using renewable energy as Qatar has pledged, is not sustainable. “It’s kind of like greenwashing to just compensate,” said Sommer in a DW interview.