The stadium of al-Wasl football club in Dubai will be the first air-conditioned stadium in the United Arab Emirates, it was announced Tuesday.
The official UAE news agency WAM reported that Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has ordered increasing the capacity and improving the facilities of the stadium.
According to WAM, the capacity will be doubled from 12,000 to 25,000 spectators and that all seating areas will be air conditioned, with special boxes for VIP guests and the media.
Following its completion, similar projects will be launched for the stadiums of other sport clubs in Dubai, the agency said. In addition to al-Wasl, the emirate is represented by four other clubs in the first division league: al-Ahli, al-Nasr, al-Shabab and Dubai. A sixth club, Hatta, competes in the second division of the league.
Qatar, a neighboring Gulf state, plans to build fully air-conditioned open-air stadiums that work using solar power to be ready for when they host the World Cup in 2022.
Summer temperatures can reach 50 C in the Gulf, and FIFA expressed concern saying it should be considered “a potential health risk for players, officials, the FIFA family and spectators.”
However, these plans were late dismissed when architect John Barrow of Populous, the company which is designing the Sports City stadium in the capital Doha, said that air-conditioning on such a scale is “notoriously unsustainable.”
According to Britain’s Daily Mail, Barrow told delegates at an industry conference in Zurich last November they have decided to abandon plans for an air-conditioning system for stadiums because “that is going to cost a fortune to run.”
Instead, Qatar is looking at its past for an alternative solution.
The new plans for cooler stadiums may employ “wind towers,” a traditional Arabic method widely used before modern air-conditioning was introduced to the region during the second half of the past century.