Lonely Planet Writer

Qatar's extraordinary rock find during World Cup stadium dig

It’s still six years before a ball will be kicked at the Qatar 2022 World Cup  but organisers believe they have scored a historical goal – and that’s just in the building of one of the stadia for the tournament.

The successful bid by Qatar for the FIFA 2022 World Cup may have been bogged down in controversy but it has led to the discovery of rock
The successful bid by Qatar for the FIFA 2022 World Cup may have been bogged down in controversy but it has led to the discovery of rock  that could be 30 million years old Image by Julio Romo / CC BY 2.0

Builders have unearthed rock samples in one of the venues which could be 30 million years old, according to a spokesperson for the organisers. During the preparation and construction of the Qatar Foundation Stadium which has a 40,000 capacity,  the special Dukham rock – located in a city 17 miles west of the country’s capital, Doha –  was uncovered.  Organiser are describing the rock as “an extraordinary find.”

A project manager with the committee overseeing the 2022 competition, Eid Al-Qahtani, said that as they began to dig down in the site, they encountered distinct colour bandings on the rock formation which aroused their interest. This led to the discovery that the rock was originally formed under water, creating a layer that is known as the middle-Eocene epoch, reports news.com.au.

The discovery of the historic site was made in Dukham, about 17 miles from Doha, Qatar's capital city.
The discovery of the historic Dukham rock was made about 17 miles from Doha, Qatar’s capital city. Image by Joi Ito / CC BY 2.0

Qatar won the rights to stage the World Cup in 2022 despite strong opposition from a number of countries. The bid has been surrounded by rows about various things such as the oppressive heat for players in the tournament to working conditions for World Cup labourers.

The bid also became part of the controversies in FIFA and how the Gulf state was selected as host – the announcement of which was made by President Sepp Blatter, who since has been banned for six years by the organisation.