Doha – Qatar, Nov 14: Following a succession of reveals made at ASPIRE4SPORT, the Qatar Sports Venue Master Plan (QSVMP) was presented to the public for the first time during ASPIRE BUILD, the last of three forums held during the congress.
Two years in the making, the plan audited 62 existing sports venues for usability and proposed 11 new ones, in addition to eight venues originally planned by the QOC.
The plan was introduced by His Excellency Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), and presented by Abdul Rahman Al Malki, Director of Engineering at QOC.
“Our focus since the beginning of this project has been legacy and ensuring that we avoid white elephants,’ said His Excellency Sheikh Saoud. “We have watched countries build large venues and struggle later with what to do with them; and our team has worked backwards, thinking first about how these venues can be of use in the future before planning their use during major sporting events.”
The new venues planned are distributed over five zones around Lusail City, Qatar Foundation, Aspire Zone, Old Airport Area, and Qatar University.
“We spent a lot of time meeting with these entities and their engineers to find out what their plans are and ensure that we were aligned,” said Al Malki, referring to major stadia and other sports facilities already in the plans of Qatar Foundation and Lusail City.
“We’ve also mapped out a way – in collaboration with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs – to integrate all our sports venues with the transportation network that Qatar is preparing,” he added.
Al Malki explained the process of putting together the Master Plan and identified the factors taken into consideration, such as the cost of building a permanent new venue, which amounts to 12 bn Qatari Riyals. He also said that the plan was put into place with the ‘Olympics 2024 in mind.’
Other highlights of ASPIRE4SPORT’s third day included a Stars Chat session which discussed relevant topics in the football world from both a player’s point-of-view as well as a manager’s perspective. The trio included Ruud Gullit, Dutch football idol and former European and World Footballer of the Year; Rafael “Rafa” Benítez, UEFA champions League winning manager with Liverpool F.C.; and John Barnes, Liverpool F.C. and England hero.
The stars provided an in-depth account into the world of football and debated issues ranging from the buying of players to racism in the football world. A hot topic, Barnes summarized the universal concern: “It’s not only a problem in football. We have to look at it in society first, only then can we help get rid of it in sport. We are doing it the wrong way round.”
Benitez later also shared his expertise with hundreds of coaches from Qatar Sports League, Qatar Football Association and Aspire’s various teams, who filled up the Aspire Academy Auditorium to listen to the expert’s take on the fine line between management and coaching and the importance of learning players’ languages when coaching a multinational team.
ASPIRE4SPORT visitors, delegates, and exhibitors were also given access to the Qatar vs. Lebanon qualifier which took place at the Al Sadd stadium (results to be released. —- By Sarah Raslan, Doha, Qatar.
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