In December 2010, the Fifa executive committee voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup. The bid was later subject to an FBI investigation for bribery and corruption. There has been a continuing debate over the high risk to players and supporters from the extreme temperatures.
Tournament organizers insisted they were prepared to host the tournament in either Summer or Winter, and it was eventually rescheduled to run from the 21st November to the 18th December. However, the average temperature in November is still 29 degrees celsius.
Qatar is actively exploring innovative ways the stadia can be adapted to handle sand storms and searing heat, such as built-in technology and testing 3D printed models. The following blog will examine some of these methods.
3D PRINTED MODELS
Scientists at Qatar University have been testing 3D-printed models of the 2022 World Cup stadia to see if they can endure its severe climate. The models take about a month to assemble, and are placed in a wind tunnel that blows smoke-filled air tracked by laser beams across the design to measure turbulence inside.
The market for 3D printing has grown rapidly in recent years, with uses varying from the production of dental crowns to manufacturing and repairing heavy equipment and machinery parts. It’s expected to reach a value of $4.75 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 29.2% between 2016 and 2022.
Scientists believe the impact of the sand storms, for example, could be mitigated by simply raising or lowering the stadium height by a few metres. They have run tests on two stadia - Al Bayt and Al Wakrah - with more tests planned for the Al Thumama stadium.
In this next section, we will look at the process in more detail.
THE FUTURE OF STADIUM DESIGN
“I believe this is the future of the stadium design industry," says Dr. Saud Abdul Aziz Abdu Ghani, Professor at the College of Engineering at Qatar University. His team of researchers have been working hard to turn the data collected from their scale models into value engineering solutions.
So how exactly does the process work? First, they print a scale model that follows exactly the design of the proposed World Cup stadium. These models are put into a wind tunnel, which is the first of its kind in the region, for aerodynamic testing.
Once the model is inside the wind tunnel, they use laser beams to capture the flow of air over the design. The measurements are then processed by the team using detailed analytics software.
“We can see the temperature per tier, add in variants such as sweat produced and amount of spectators, and then run the simulation and see the effect on the temperature inside the stadium.”
The University team presents its findings to the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC)’s Technical Delivery Office, who turn the findings from the wind tunnel into value engineering benefits for the stadia under construction across Qatar.
HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS
The issue of migrant workers’ rights has generated a lot of attention. Human rights activists say the migrant workforce face inhuman conditions, miserable accommodation and low wages. In 2013, a report from The Guardian estimated that up to 4,000 workers may die due to lax safety and other causes by the time the competition is held.
Tim Noonan, the director of communications for the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), told Fox News that an estimated 1.4 million migrant workers are in “appalling, squalid labor camps,” some crammed 10 to 12 in a single room with non-working ACs in sweltering temperatures.
According to Noonan, migrants entering the country to work on Qatar’s World Cup stadium projects – which developers say will cost between $8 and 10 billion -- are being misled and exploited.
Qatar has been given 12 months to end migrant worker slavery or face a possible United Nations investigation. The UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) has told Qatar to act on its warnings about the treatment of the most vulnerable workers and prove its proposed law changes are working or it could decide in March 2017 to launch a “commission of inquiry”.
This is not the first time Fifa has come under fire for its failure to deal with human rights issues in host countries. Nine workers died during construction of the venues for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Dozens of people were injured during confrontations between protesters and police, including journalists.
History seems to be repeating itself with Russia and Qatar, and what has been the response from Fifa? Fifa President Gianni Infantino has vowed that conditions for workers are “on the right track.”
Despite these concerns, Fifa are pushing ahead with the controversial tournament. With the clock ticking down to 2022, soccer’s governing body will come under increasing pressure to tackle issues like extreme temperatures and human rights.
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