Qatar unveils dhow-inspired stadium amid World Cup controversy

Updated 07 December 2013
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Qatar unveils dhow-inspired stadium amid World Cup controversy

DOHA: Qatar on Saturday unveiled the design for a new soccer stadium, inspired by a traditional fishing boat but with a cooled pitch, as it presses ahead with plans for the 2022 World Cup despite the dispute over when it can be held due to the heat.
Soccer governing body FIFA has launched a consultation process to decide whether the tournament, initially scheduled to be held in the traditional June-July slot, when temperatures can reach around 50 degrees Celsius (120 Fahrenheit), should be moved to a cooler time such as November-December.
Under the blueprint released by Qatar’s 2022 Supreme Committee, the stadium in the Al-Wakrah region, 15 km (10 miles) from the capital Doha, will have shaded spectator stands cooled between 24 and 28C and a natural grass pitch cooled to 26C.
The design, topped with a structure resembling the sails of a dhow, also includes a spectator area outside the ground that will be temperature controlled at 30-32C.
The plan gave no specific details how the cooling system would work, other than saying it would incorporate “shading, aerodynamic and mechanical cooling components.”
The question of the heat during a summer tournament has been a one of several controversies since Qatar was announced as the winner of the bid in December 2010.
Players’ union FIFPro has said it will urge its members not to take part if it is played in Qatar’s summer, even if air conditioning is installed in the stadiums.
Qatar has also been hit by allegations of migrant construction workers not being given enough food or water, as well as accusations of corruption over the voting procedure to win the bid. Officials have denied the accusations.
“Al-Wakrah is the first of six stadiums already in the latter stages of the design process, our committee has issued 10 major tenders to the market encompassing project and design managers and stadium-operation consultants, “Hassan Al-Thawadi, the general secretary of the 2022 committee told reporters.
He said stadium, with a capacity of 40,000 people, would be completed by 2018, but declined to comment on the cost.
Overall, the tiny gas-rich state plans to spend about $140 billion on a rail system, a new airport, a seaport, and hundreds of kilometers of new roads for the tournament, in addition to the stadiums that will host the matches.
Asked how the committee plans to limit any risk of abuse to workers, Al-Thawadi said the committee was dedicated to applying all clauses in its workers’ charter to make sure the rights of the workers were going to be respected and upheld.
“If there are any deaths above zero that would be unacceptable for us,” he said.


Arsenal open US tour with 3-0 friendly win in Colorado

Updated 16 July 2019
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Arsenal open US tour with 3-0 friendly win in Colorado

LOS ANGELES: Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli scored in his Arsenal debut Monday as the English Premier League club launched their pre-season tour of the US with a 3-0 friendly win over the Colorado Rapids.

Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka also scored for the Gunners, who cruised to victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in suburban Denver.

Martinelli, the 18-year-old forward signed from Ituano on July 2, was given a surprise start in attack by Unai Emery and sent an early chance wide.

Saka, 17, was an energetic presence and put Arsenal up 1-0 in the 13th minute as he collected a through-ball from Eddie Nketiah.

Another teenager — 18-year-old Olayinka —  doubled the score in the 29th, seizing a stray pass from defense and racing in to fire into the top left corner of the net.

Martinelli, having missed his early chance, capped the scoring in the 61st when he slotted home a cross from close range.

The Rapids, in the midst of the Major League Soccer season, fielded a mostly reserve side that featured several players from the lower-rung Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

Arsenal, too, started a reserve team as they begin their build up to the Premier League season after again failing to secure a Champions League berth.

The tour has not started without controversy. Captain Laurent Koscielny refused to travel to the US, and a group of influential Arsenal supporters’ organizations published a statement on Monday hitting out at Stan Kroenke’s “passive ownership.”

Under a hashtag “WeCareDo You” the statement decried a “soulless” atmosphere at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and a lack of transfer strategy.

Kroenke, who began investing in the club in 2007 through his company Kroenke Sports Enterprises and took full ownership in 2018, also owns the Rapids as well as the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.