No sooner had the design of Al Wakrah stadium, one of the nine venues to be built in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, been unveiled than people started likening the shape to that of a vagina.
This was what Holly Baxter, a female blogger wrote about the design: ‘Perhaps the bigwigs behind the design (no doubt all male) should embrace this so-called faux pas and rebrand it as a deliberate nod towards the increasingly liberal Qatari policies concerning women in sport,’ she wrote.
‘In a world where sport and vaginas very rarely come together with such prominence (see every UK female footballer’s salary versus every UK male footballer’s salary), this can only be a good thing. And after all, why not have 45,000 people crammed inside a woman’s reproductive system? It’s not like they haven’t been there before.’
According to British architect, Zaha Hadid, the design was inspired by the flowing shape of a dhow, a traditional sailing vessel used by pearl divers and fishermen in the region for centuries.
Ever since the hosting right to the 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar, FIFA’s decision to host the football tournament in the gulf state has not failed to attract criticism for one reason or the other.
FIFA has been criticised endlessly for planning to stage the competition in a region where average temperature is around 40c. European FAs complained that the conditions would be unbearable for all players, fans and officials.
Another ongoing controversy is the alleged exploitation of foreign workers employed to work at the construction sites in Qatar.