A man-made island, a billionaires’ playground, or student digs? Exploring the Socceroos’ Qatar base

The Americans are staying on a man-made island at a resort where the best suites cost $16,500 a night and come with a huge jacuzzi and 24-hour butler.

Belgium have chosen a billionaires’ playground, featuring a water park with 56 rides, an exclusive 3.5-kilometre beach and a desert go-kart track.

Germany are in a secluded wellness spa with a Himalayan salt cave and a range of health treatments, such as psycho-energetic massage.

Doha’s Aspire Academy, where the Socceroos will be based for the Qatar World Cup.Credit:Getty Images

These accommodations were revealed on Tuesday as FIFA confirmed the training bases for all 32 teams at this year’s World Cup.

And the Socceroos? When they get to their Qatar base, they will be in student digs.

These will not, however, be any old digs. Australia’s World Cup squad have booked themselves into the state-of-the-art Aspire Academy.

Founded in 2004, this is the facility designed to lift Qatari sporting achievement from invisible to prominent. It has produced several leading athletes and members of the Qatar football team.

Aspire has world-class sports facilities, including six outdoor full-size soccer pitches and one indoor, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an indoor athletics track, a gymnastics hall, an outdoor gym, a table tennis area, squash courts, and the intriguing ‘Footbonaut’ – a training cage pioneered by Bundesliga powerhouse Borussia Dortmund.

So, there will be plenty for Graham Arnold’s team to do while they prepare for November’s games against France, Tunisia and Denmark, and the December knockout stages they aim to reach.

As for the rooms. Australia, according to FIFA, are in the facility’s athlete accommodation. The dormitory contains 128 en-suite double rooms and four suites.

The Marsa Malaz Kempinski, on Doha island ‘The Pearl’, is where the US men’s national team will be based for the World Cup.Credit:Ed Reeve / View Pictures

While not as luxurious as most teams’ bases, Australia, having been one of the last teams to qualify, had limited choice, and Football Australia’s pockets are not as deep as the likes of England’s FA and other major football nations.


The location also has the seal of approval of Socceroos legend Tim Cahill, who helped choose it – and has links with Aspire himself.

Qatar, themselves, and Ghana will also use the pitches but will not be staying at the academy.


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