The former Arsenal defender is currently in Qatar for the AFC Champions League…
In many ways, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is set to be a unique event in many ways. It will be the first-ever World Cup to be held in the Middle East and is set to be held in November and December, instead of June and July as has been the norm.
Given the concerns about the hot weather in Qatar, the venues being built for the stadium will feature several ground-breaking features like the Advanced Cooling Tech which will control the ambient temperature inside the stadium.
Former Arsenal and Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen, currently in Qatar with Japanese side Vissel Kobe for the AFC Champions League East Zone tournament, has already experienced the ‘Cooling Tech’ and is impressed.
Qatar have already thrown open three of the eight planned venues for the World Cup – Khalifa International, Al Janoub and Education City stadiums. A fourth venue, Al Rayyan stadium, will be inaugurated on December 18, 2020.
All but one of these stadiums (Ras Abu Aboud stadium) where work is still progressing will feature the Cooling Tech. Vermaelen played at the Khalifa and Al Janoub stadiums in the group stages and feels the technology will make a huge difference during the World Cup since the players will be able to play in comfortable weather.
“It definitely helps,” he told Goal. “The World Cup will be played in November and the climate here in Qatar during this time is not too hot anyway.
“To have a bit more cooling is actually quite good. You can actually feel it, especially the people to whom I have talked to, who sit in the stands, there is a massive difference. So the cooling system definitely helps.”
Vermaelen, who has a UEFA Champions League winners’ medal with Barcelona in the 2014-15 season, will be eyeing continental success with Vissel Kobe, having helped his team seal their spot in the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League already.
The 35-year-old Belgian feels the stadiums in Qatar are on par with the very best in the world, aesthetically as well as facility wise.
“Definitely yes. I have now played in two stadiums, they look amazing, they look amazing inside and outside. So they are definitely on par with the biggest stadiums in Europe.”