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Wed 18 May 2016 11:05 AM

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Avoid 'white elephant' World Cup stadiums, FIFA warns

FIFA working with local World Cup organisers to find ways of ensuring Qatar’s new stadiums are still in use after the tournament.

Avoid 'white elephant' World Cup stadiums, FIFA warns
Jürgen Müller, the head of planning and infrastructure at FIFA and the 2022 World Cup. (Getty Images)

As Qatar pushes ahead with the construction of six World Cup stadiums, a FIFA executive has cautioned a Doha audience against building ‘white elephant’ facilities that could end up dormant once the tournament ends.

“Don’t build stadiums that (will) not (be) filled by your leagues or your teams. FIFA would like to avoid, by all means, white elephants,” Jürgen Müller, the head of planning and infrastructure at FIFA and the 2022 World Cup, said at the annual World Stadium Congress in Doha.

Though his remarks were not directed at Qatar, they raise the question of how the country’s World Cup stadiums will be used after 2022 and that stadiums should also take into account local needs by attracting other large-scale sporting events to Qatar.

Qatar’s stadium plans include “modular” designs for parts of the venues to be disassembled and scaled down after the World Cup while the upper tiers are expected to be donated to developing countries that can then build their own football facilities.

“Qatar will be left with stadiums suitable for clubs in its domestic football league and for other sporting and cultural events,” the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) said on its website.

Khalifa International Stadium will be one of the main venues for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in 2019. Qatar is considering a bid to host to the Summer Olympics in the near future.

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