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Qatar's Al Bayt stadium - A beacon of Arab hospitality and culture!

4:13 PM SGT 1/12/21
Al Bayt Stadium, Qatar
The latest World Cup stadium is a shining example of Arab hospitality....

The World Cup will be hosted in the Arab region for the very first time in its 92-year-old history. Although football is the most popular game and is also known as the ‘beautiful game’, the flavours relished when football is experienced in various cultures, geographies is something unique. 

For example, the 2010 World Cup introduced the world to the fervent football culture of Africa with vuvuzelas remaining an iconic symbol. There are similar instances for Brazil and Russia (2014 and 2018 repsectively).

Now coming to the 2022 World Cup that will be hosted in the Middle-East, Qatar have made an endeavour to ensure the Arab culture and hospitality is presented in its best form to the fans coming in from all over the world. For instance, tents in the Arab culture were used to convene by families to convene and engage and strengthen the familial bonds. The idea was to get-together, interact, eat, drink and showcase hospitality towards friends and kin.

The Al Bayt Stadium, the latest World Cup venue to be inaugurated on Tuesday, has been designed in the form of a tent as a tribute to the history of their forefathers and also to invite guests to experience the traditional Arab hospitality. It’s iconic that the very first World Cup game in the Arab region will be hosted in a tent-shaped stadium, namely Al Bayt. In fact, the name of the stadium is itself based on this concept. The name Al Bayt is taken from the word ‘bayt al sha’ar’ which means tents used by nomadic peoples in the Arab region.

This will be an opportunity for the Arab world to present its culture and tradition to the world and what better way to break stereotypes at an event which will be watched and attended by millions across the globe.

“I’ve always insisted that this World Cup is a precious opportunity to create bonds and friendships that can break down existing stereotypes and prejudices - on behalf of the outside world and ourselves. We need to get beyond the polarising discussions and debates that entrich divides between communities and nations. We need more platforms to bring people together, interact and appreciate each other as human beings and this World Cup is a perfect opportunity for us to realise that vision,” said Hassan Al Thawadi, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the entity responsible to deliver the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup.

It is this attempt to build bridges between the Middle-East, an often misunderstood region, and the rest of the world that is evident in Qatar's World Cup stadium designs. If it was the traditional headcap called Gahfiya which is the inspiration behind Al Thumama stadium, Al Janoub is a tribute to Qatar's history. In the same way, Al Bayt is Qatar's attempt to showcase Arab hospitality of celebrating occasions and events together.

More improtantly, what should be noted is that Qatar have always maintained the 2022 World Cup should be considered as an tournament hosted by Qatar but a tournament that represents the entire Arab region.

“This is a regional World Cup. We continue to work to embrace the people of the region. The tournament is being held in Qatar, but it is first and foremost a regional tournament," Al Thawadi had said earlier.

And that is the exact message they are sending with the unique design that the Al Bayt stadium has incorporated.