Fans visit Stadium 974 for last time as dismantling work begins

Temporary arena's 40,000 seats and tonnes of steel will be transported overseas and put back together like Lego

A giant World Cup outside Stadium 974 in Qatar. The arena is being dismantled now the World Cup is over. AP
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Stadium 974 near Qatar's capital city is attracting football fans who are having a final look before it is fully dismantled.

The world’s first transportable football ground, made with 974 recycled shipping containers, hosted seven matches during the Fifa World Cup.

Its 44,089 seats and tonnes of modular steel can be completely dismantled, transported to another country and put back together like Lego.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the organising committee for the World Cup, said constriction workers moved to the site to take down the stadium after Brazil's match against South Korea on December 5.

“Following the Brazil v S Korea match, the last match hosted at Stadium 974, initial work has begun to take [down] the venue and hand it back to the host country,” a supreme committee representative said.

The stadium also hosted the Qatar Fashion United by CR Runway fashion show on December 16.

The arena, named after Qatar’s international dialling code, is in Ras Bu Abboud, about 10km east of central Doha.

Feng Wanqing (3rd L), from China, said he went to see the stadium from outside as he could not attend any matches there. Photo: Ali Al Shouk / The National

“The precise timeline for the full dismantling and repurposing of the stadium is being finalised at the moment, and details will be communicated by organisers in due course,” the representative said.

The committee did not reveal the final plans when asked by The National.

According to some reports, the stadium parts could be sent to Uruguay, which will jointly bid for the 2030 World Cup with Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.

But other reports suggest there is a long list of countries to which the dismantled stadium could be taken, including some in Africa.

Feng Wanqing, 38, from China, said he went with his friends to see the stadium from outside as he could not attend any of the World Cup matched played there.

“It is a masterpiece,” he told The National. "I attended eight matches during the World Cup, but none was played in this stadium. I came to see it because everybody was talking about it.

“I heard they have started dismantling the stadium and came with my friends to take pictures and videos of the stadium at night.

"It is sad to imagine that just some days before, this area was buzzing with fans, but now it is very quiet.”

Matias Vilaruel, 30, from Argentina, said he watched his home nation beat Poland 2-0 at Stadium 974.

“I can’t believe this beautiful stadium will be dismantled,” he said. "It hosted an Argentina match and it was a full house. I was amazed by the structure and the fact that it can be transported to another country.

“I came again to have a final look at the stadium from outside and I can see and hear construction work happening now. It was a great idea to have such a stadium from recycled material.”

The plan is to develop the site into a waterfront destination.

Most of the stadiums used in the Qatar World Cup will have their upper tiers removed to reduce seating by nearly half.

The capacity at each of the Al Janoub, Ahmad bin Ali, Al Thumama and Education City stadiums will be reduced from 40,000 to 20,000, while Al Bayt Stadium will be cut from 60,000 to 32,000.

Removed seats will be donated to developing countries in need of sporting infrastructure.

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Updated: December 25, 2022, 10:54 AM