Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup by promising that its nine new open-air soccer stadiums would be air-conditioned. Now the Qataris have announced another cool twist to their hospitality -- an artificial cloud to hover above the stadium and provide shade.
The head of mechanical and industrial engineering at Qatar University said the cloud would be positioned by remote control and run on solar power.
Based on the design shown in local Qatari news outlets, the cloud isn't white and fluffy. It is flat and rectangular, resembling a giant cell phone, and will be built using light carbonic materials. Perhaps something was lost in translation from Arabic because the invention is more spaceship than cloud, but ultimately players and fans will benefit from the shade.
The cost of the cloud is $500,000, but money is no obstacle for Qatar, which is one of the world's richest countries thanks to vast natural gas and oil reserves.
There have been concerns about the heat ever since Qatar began its campaign in 2009 to pursue a World Cup. The average high for July in Qatar is 106 degrees, and temperatures have reached 120 degrees in the summer. That is one reason why Prince Ali of Jordan suggested shifting the 2022 World Cup from its traditional time in July to January, which is Qatar's coolest month with an average high of 71 degrees.
Temperatures were in the 60s for the 2010 World Cup championship match in Johannesburg, South Africa, held on July 11, between Spain and the Netherlands.
Qatar, which is roughly the size of Connecticut, will be the smallest nation to host a World Cup. The other finalists to host in 2022 were the U.S., Australia, Japan and South Korea.