February 18, 2021

Vote for Qatar's World Cup Venues in the Stadium of the Year Poll

In June 2020, Qatar virtually inaugurated its newly completed Education City Stadium. The stadium's first official match came later on September 3rd. Then, on December 18th, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium opened its doors to be inaugurated alongside the final of Qatar's most important domestic competition, the Amir Cup. These two new stadiums, built to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, were completed during a turbulent year for football as the COVID-19 virus wreaked havoc worldwide. The fact that the stadiums were completed successfully and with very few delays, and the fact that both venues have, since opening, hosted spectators in their stands amid a pandemic, is a testament to Qatar and its organisational and management capabilities, as well as its sheer dogged determination. But, the stadiums themselves are also worthy of much celebration and acclaim. Both constructions are, aesthetically, wonders to behold. Architecturally they push boundaries with their design and state-of-the-art technologies. And, both are beacons of sustainability. It is no wonder then that they have been registered in the Stadium of the Year 2020 award organised by StadiumDB.com.

What is StadiumDB?

StadiumDB is a stadium information platform. It provides up to date details (design and operational information) on stadia around the world - those under construction, existing venues and historical sites. It also offers a host of stadium-related news and articles, rankings and listings based on history, records and other specific criteria, and organises the Stadium of the Year award.

What is the Stadium of the Year award?

The Stadium of the Year award, which has been running for over ten years, is two-fold. One award, the world's largest public vote on stadiums, recognises public opinion on the best stadiums built in the past year. The second is an honour awarded by a jury of architectural experts. Experts rank each stadium, in contention for the award, to establish a shortlist of finalists. Those finalists are graded by their architectural value, functionality and innovation.  

This year’s nominees include:

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium (Qatar), Allegiant Stadium (USA), Batumi Stadium (Georgia), Bloomfield Stadium (Israel), Brentford Community Stadium (UK), Çorum Şehir Stadyumu (Turkey), Education City Stadium (Qatar), Estadio Tierra de Campeones (Chile), Gürsel Aksel Stadyumu (Turkey), Inter Miami CF Stadium (USA), Kanseki Stadium Tochigi (Japan), Lynn Family Stadium (USA), Queensland Country Bank Stadium (Australia), Sanga Stadium by KYOCERA (Japan), SoFi Stadium (US), Stade de la Tuilière (Switzerland), Stade National de la Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Stadionul Francisc von Neuman (Romania), Sultan Ibrahim Stadium (Malaysia) and Xi’an OSC Stadium (China).

How can you register your vote?

Voting for the public Stadium of the Year award is done online via the StadiumDB.com website until March 7th 2021.

Voters must choose their top five stadiums from the list of twenty candidates. Each of the five stadiums must be given a star rating of between 1-5 - five stars to the best stadium, four stars to the second, and so on in descending order. When all stars have been awarded, voters press the ‘VOTE’ icon to register their choice.


Voters must select and vote for five stadiums in total - any less, and the votes won’t be counted.

Only one vote (for a total of five stadiums) can be sent from any device.

Voting closes at midnight (Central European Time) on March 7th.

Qatar’s Entrants

If you plan to vote, check out our information below on both of Qatar’s entrants to the awards:

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium

Located in the Al Rayyan district, 23km west of Doha city centre, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium can accommodate up to 40,000 football fans per match during the World Cup 2022 tournament. The venue was designed and constructed with sustainability in mind. Environmentally friendly building materials and practices were used throughout the build. And, up to 80% of the materials used in the new stadium's construction were taken from the old, demolished stadium previously located on-site. The stadium precinct was also designed to be easily accessible using local transport, specifically the Metro Green Line, to reduce pollution and energy use.

Al Rayyan's proximity to the desert has heavily influenced the design of the stadium and the surrounding complex. With an undulating facade that wraps around the building, the stadium emulates the flow of a sand dune. Many of the surrounding structures, and the complex's landscaping, were also designed to mimic the desert dunes' shape. The stadium's facade panelling uses geometric patterns, often found in traditional Islamic architecture, to symbolise important aspects of life for Qatar's people - the desert, flora and fauna, strength, unity, and trade. The panelling, more practically, enables light to penetrate through to photovoltaic panels used to capture solar energy. Solar energy is used to power the cooling system designed specifically for the stadium.

When the World Cup tournament comes to a close, the stadium will become home to the Al Rayyan Football Club. The stadium's capacity will be reduced to 20,000 seats, with the removed facilities donated to the developing world. The local community will also benefit from the amenities in the complex surrounding the stadium. Sport and leisure facilities, such as pitches for football, cricket and hockey, tennis courts, tracks for cycling, walking, running and athletics, and an aquatics centre, will be provided to promote healthy lifestyles for all.

Education City Stadium

Located in Ar Rayyan, Education City Stadium sits alongside nine Universities, a host of sporting venues, including a 33 hole golf club and a world-class equestrian centre. It also sits alongside some of Qatar's most awe-inspiring buildings, such as the Education City Mosque and the National Library. The 40,000 seat stadium, just 13km from Doha city centre, is accessible by road and metro train, on the Green Line. Once in Education City visitors can jump on battery-powered trams from the Metro station or various car parking facilities to reach the stadium grounds.

The stadium, nicknamed the 'Diamond in the Desert', was inspired by Islamic architecture. Geometrical panels lock together across the facade to make diamond-like patterns. The fabric of the cladding panels is highly reflective. It creates a shimmering, colour changing effect as the sun passes over the stadium. At night, thousands of tiny diodes illuminate the panels. Hence, the aptly given diamond in the desert reference. Like a diamond, the stadium has been designed to be durable, resilient and something to be treasured, now and for future generations. The stadium was designed to achieve sustainability. Construction was undertaken with materials from sustainable sources or locally procured materials to reduce the overall carbon footprint. Energy-efficient fittings and fixtures, smart technologies and water conservation techniques have been employed to minimise wasted resources. Solar energy provides a natural way to boost power supplies to the stadium, and thermally efficient and reflective cladding, not only shines like a diamond but also protects the building from the harsh desert sunlight.

When the last of the FIFA World Cup 2022 football supporters leave the stadium, work will begin on transforming the venue and the surrounding district. The arena will be converted into facilities for local, regional and international sporting events. And, the adjoining sports hub will serve the local community living, working and studying in Education City. The upper tiers of the stadium will be disassembled and 20,000 seats donated to sports development projects abroad.

Global Sustainability Assessment Rating

Both stadiums have been awarded a Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) rating for their sustainability. 

GSAS, developed and managed by the Gulf Organisation for Development and Research (GORD), is a performance-based sustainable certification system for rating green buildings and infrastructure. Designed specifically for the Middle East and North Africa region, the scheme is used to assess a built environment's sustainability throughout its lifecycle. The overall aim is to ensure minimal environmental impact and consumption of resources, and, either, the least impact or a positive impact on the local community. 

Approved by FIFA, organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar adopted GSAS to help them achieve their tournament's sustainability targets. In particular, to ensure that all of the new stadiums achieve, or exceed, stringent benchmarks. Those benchmarks have been set to meet FIFA requirements and the stipulations of Qatar's national development plans.

According to FIFA requirements, each of Qatar's 2022 stadiums must achieve a four-star rating under GSAS. Ahmad bin Ali Stadium earned the coveted 4-star GSAS rating, and Education City Stadium excelled in achieving a 5-star rating.

Main image: Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy

Published: February 17, 2021
Last updated: February 18, 2021
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