Why is it called Stadium 974?


When the FIFA World Cup opens in Qatar in November 2022, it will be the first time the premier men’s soccer tournament has been hosted in the Arab World. Following 2002’s tournament, co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, it will also be the competition’s second visit to Asia.

Those two former hosts separately bid to host the 2022 event but were knocked out alongside Australia and the United States when Qatar emerged victorious during the 2010 selection process. 

The selection of a country with a hot climate meant the tournament would always have to make a few adjustments. Qatar’s summer temperatures necessitated the competition’s unusual move to late Fall. But logistics haven’t been the only consideration in the decade since Qatar was selected. The run-up has been dogged with controversy, almost from the moment the country won.  

World Cup Controversies


Accusations of corruption were leveled at the selection process, resulting in an internal investigation at FIFA that ultimately cleared Qatar of wrongdoing. However, chief investigator Michael J. Garcia subsequently described the report based on his inquiry as containing “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations.” 

In May 2015, Swiss federal prosecutors started investigating corruption and money laundering relating to the 2022 and 2018 World Cup bids.

Qatar’s preparation for the games has come in for severe criticism too. Amnesty International has accused the country of using forced labor, with poor treatment of migrant workers resulting in thousands of deaths. In 2021, Abdullah Ibhais, a former employee of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organizers who raised concerns over the treatment of migrant workers, was sentenced to three years for misappropriating state funds by a court in Doha.

The controversies have cast a significant shadow over a tournament many hoped would be famous for its positive agenda. It’s particularly acute for the first World Cup following the Covid pandemic. It feels like a long time since 2010 – the year Qatar won the rights to host the competition and unveiled an ambitious plan for five proposed stadia that would reflect its culture and history. 

Those proposals included what is now intriguingly named Stadium 974. 

Stadium 974

Image via qatar2022.qa

Stadium 974, formerly known as Ras Abu Aboud, takes its distinctive name from its fascinating and eye-catching design. The number 974 refers to the number of shipping containers used in its construction. 

That contributes to more than the stadium’s distinctive look. The shipping containers are a nod to the stadium’s location in the port of Doha. The containers, many of which were used to transport construction materials to the venue, serve as a reminder of the country’s rich maritime history and the area’s industrial heritage.

As well as the containers, the stadium’s modular structure includes a partially-recycled steel structure. Some of the exterior containers contain staircases and bathrooms.

The result is a colorful and imposing structure on the Doha port side. As the nearest stadium to Hamad International Airport, it will be the first part of the tournament many supporters see when they arrive in Qatar. The international aspect is also a crucial consideration. If the number 974 sounds familiar, it’s because it’s also Qatar’s international dialing code. 

A sustainable blueprint

Stadium 974’s construction signals the organizer’s intention that Qatar 2022 is the most environmentally-friendly tournament ever staged. Stadium 974 is the first stadium to be fully demountable in the history of the FIFA World Cup. That means it can be sustainably removed and reconstructed after the competition. However, it’s not yet clear if the dismantled stadium will be relocated or repurposed as a series of smaller stadia.

Stadium 974 was designed by Spanish studio Fenwick Iribarren Architects and has been awarded five-star certification for construction and design by the Global Sustainability Assessment System.

Along with structural engineers Schlaich Bergermann Partner and engineering consultancy Hilson Moran, Fenwick Iribarren Architects have built a stadium that commits to sustainable goals in several ways.

Its modular construction kept building costs, time, and waste materials to a minimum. It also lowered the stadium’s initial and lifetime carbon footprint. Organizers believe that the development reduced water use by 40% compared to conventional builds. 

Its distinctive shape is intended to encourage natural ventilation. Combined with the stadium’s proximity to the sea, it’s expected to ensure that artificial cooling is not required. That’s a particularly important consideration for a 40,000 seat stadium. 

Hilson Moran has explained how the construction’s unusual approach to its mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements drew inspiration from the automotive industry.

The Supreme Committee for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 hopes that Stadium 974 and other tournament venues will set a new blueprint for innovative approaches to sustainable builds at future tournaments. In 2021, FIFA Supreme Committee chairman and engineer Yasir Al Jamal said, “The striking Stadium 974 is a proud symbol of sustainability and innovation”.

The Committee’s secretary-general ​​Hassan Al Thawadi has also said that FIFA considers “this innovative venue a game-changer for future mega-event hosts.” 

Stadium 974 is scheduled to host seven matches during the four-week World Cup.

Which teams will play at Stadium 974?

Image via FIFA Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy

We don’t currently know which teams will be playing matches held in Stadium 974. 

The qualification rounds for the tournament will continue until June 2022. However, many top-seed teams have secured their place, including the current top-five ranked teams: Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, England, and current champions, France.

We don’t yet know the teams that will make up the tournament’s Group A and open the competition, apart from the host, who, as tradition has it, will take part in the first match. We do know that the first ball of the competition will be kicked at 13:00 local time on Nov. 21, 2022, at the 60,000 seater Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, just under 30 miles from the Qatari capital Doha. 

As well as aiming to set a new sustainable standard for the tournament, Qatar 2022 will also mark the end of the World Cup in its present form. It will be the last Football World Cup to feature 32 teams before the competition enlarges to 48 teams in 2026, a tournament that will be jointly hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada.