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Archive for January 6, 2022

Jan. 6, 2022 — A giant leap of engineering, and how FIH can get in on it

Yesterday, Bloomberg News did a video feature on one of the stadia being used for this coming fall’s FIFA men’s World Cup in Qatar. The stadium, called 974 Stadium, is a bolt-together facility which can fit into 974 shipping containers, each of which can be loaded onto a container ship or railcar.

The facility, which can seat 40,000 people, is already assembled and has been used for the Arab Cup, a warm-up tournament which was held in November and December. It is to be disassembled after the World Cup and transported around for various FIFA competitions in the Middle-East and Africa.

The bolt-together stadium is the latest innovation for temporary facilities, which have been pioneered by the likes of Red Bull and The X-Games, which can put together enormous ramps and half-pipes for various extreme sports, then take them down once the competitions have occurred. One of the most impressive builds in the last few years was an ice-racing course built inside Fenway Park in Boston for a Red Bull event called Crashed Ice.

It took six weeks to build the course, which hosted a weekend’s worth of races in 2019, and then was disassembled in time for the 2019 baseball season, and you would not have been able to tell that something that large and massive had been assembled on the verdant greensward at Landsdown Street and Brookline Avenue in Boston.

The temporary stadium, I think, is something that FIH, the world governing body of field hockey, should consider for future international competitions. I think it is entirely possible to make a build, complete with water pipes underneath the surface of the pitch, that can be moved to various competitions around the globe.

Now, why do I think FIH should consider this? I think it would be a great help to have a temporary facility that can be used in non-traditional hockey nations. Think of it: Olympic field hockey facilities have largely been abandoned and unused after being purpose-built for a 16-day tournament, rather than being used as a springboard for growth in the sport in places such as Brazil, Greece, and China.

Sure, an FIH temporary stadium may cost a lot of money and time to develop and maintain. But it’s a sustainable solution that won’t be a “white elephant” project for an organizing committee for either an Olympics or FIH World Cup.

Heck, a temporary stadium could be assembled around an existing ground such as the Virginia Beach Sportsplex or Spooky Nook; all you’d have to do is remove the bleachers. And it might be even easier if FIH is able to debut its waterless turf system by Paris 2024.

What do you think? Put your comments below.