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Qatar to build World Cup stadium shaped like Arabian cap

Doha's Al Thumama stadium, designed by a Qatari architect in the shape of a traditional knitted "gahfiya" Arabian cap, will host 40,000 fans at a World Cup quarter final match in 2022

Qatar will build a stadium shaped like an Arabian skull cap for the 2022 World Cup, organisers said on Sunday, as the Gulf state moves ahead with preparations for the tournament despite a diplomatic rift with its neighbours.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates imposed sanctions on fellow US ally Qatar in June and cut all transport links with the country, accusing it of supporting terrorism – a charge Doha denies.

To get around the boycott, Qatar has flown in food from Turkey and Iran and chartered ships via Oman to bring in construction materials needed for World Cup projects.

Timeline: Arab rift with Qatar

The tournament is the centrepiece of a strategy to project Qatar onto the global stage via sport.

Doha’s Al Thumama stadium, designed by a Qatari architect in the shape of a traditional knitted “gahfiya” Arabian cap, will host 40,000 fans at a World Cup quarter final match, the country’s 2022 organising body said in a statement.

Hassan al-Thawadi, Qatar’s 2022 committee chief said:

This symbolic design embodies everything that unites us as Arabs and Muslims, and is a fitting tribute to the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East

The venue is one of least eight air-conditioned stadiums Qatar is building along with a new port and metro system as part of a $200 billion infrastructure upgrade.

Qatar has denied reports the Arab sanctions have hurt tourism and lowered hotel occupancy rates.

How has Qatar fended amidst a sociopolitical and economic blockade by its neighbours?

King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz (L) is welcomed with an official ceremony by Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (R) at Royal Palace in Doha, Qatar on 5 December 2016. [Bandar Algaloud/ Saudi Kingdom/ Handout]

King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz (L) is welcomed with an official ceremony by Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (R) at Royal Palace in Doha, Qatar on 5 December 2016. [Bandar Algaloud/ Saudi Kingdom/ Handout]

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