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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Qatar plans air-conditioned stadiums for WC

Qatar plans air-conditioned stadiums for WC DOHA: Qatar after winning the race to host the 2022 World Cup, and becoming the first Middle Eastern country to hold the tournament, has promised air-conditioned stadiums for the event to overcome the sweltering heat.

For the tiny desert state, where summer temperatures soar over 40 C (104 F), it is a triumph of ambition and technology.

As recently as November, FIFA expressed concerns over the country's climate, which it said should be considered "a potential health risk for players, officials, the FIFA family and spectators."

But football's governing body seems to have been swayed by Qatar's plans to overcome the sweltering heat by building nine new fully air-conditioned open-air stadiums that work using solar power.

Solar thermal collectors and photovoltaic panels on the outside the stadiums and on their roofs will harness energy from the blazing Qatari sun.

It will be used to chill water, which in turn will cool air before it is blown through the stadium, keeping pitch temperatures below 27 C (80 F).

Qatar 2022's bid book director Yasir Al Jamal said it would be the first time these technologies have been combined to keep a stadium cool.

"Stadium seats will be cooled using air pumped at the spectator ankle zone at a temperature of 18 C," he said.

"The same air will also be projected from the back and neck area of the seats, ensuring that each seating row of each stadium provides maximum comfort and enjoyment to fans," he continued.

Qatar plans to use 12 stadiums to host the competition and German architects AS&P have produced conceptual designs for nine new stadiums, and upgrades to three existing venues.

"The roof could stay closed [during matches] so that every seat in the stadium and the pitch is fully shaded, or if FIFA requires teams to play with an open roof we could open it and still guarantee a temperature of 27 C."

Some of the stadiums will feature a modular design that means they can be dismantled after the tournament and rebuilt in countries looking to develop their football infrastructure.

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