Sparkling Al Rayyan Stadium up and running


Qatar Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium Al Rayyan inaugurated Image: SC & Qatar 2022

The Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan – more popularly known as the Al Rayyan Stadium – became the fourth fully operational FIFA World Cup 2022™ tournament venue to be inaugurated on December 18th in the presence of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The inaugural event coincided with the Qatar National Day and to commemorate the event the 48th Amir Cup final was also held.

The stadium – which will become the new home of Al Rayyan Sports Club – follows Khalifa International, Al Janoub and Education City in being declared ready to host the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East and Arab world. The 40,000-capacity venue will host seven matches during Qatar 2022 up to the round of 16 stages.

Following a scintillating pre-match ceremony featuring music, cultural performances and stunning visual effects, along with a riddle recited by presenters Hamad bin Mohsen Al Naimi and Ali bin Rhema Al Marri, the final fixture between Al-Sadd and Al Arabi kicked off. Al Sadd won the match 2-1 to claim the Amir Cup for the 17th time in front of a physically distanced crowd of 50 percent the stadium’s capacity.

The Al-Sadd sports club is a Qatari sports club based in the Al Sadd district of the City of Doha. It is best known for its association football team, which competes in the top level of Qatari football, the Qatar Stars League.

Al-Arabi Sports Club is a Qatari sports club based in Doha, Qatar. Founded in 1952, the most prominent team of the club is the football team which plays in the Qatar Stars League.

Among the dignitaries who graced the event was the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, who praised the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) for the successful completion of another Qatar 2022 tournament venue.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) was formed in 2011 and is tasked with delivering the proposed tournament venues and host country planning and operations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – the first to be held in the Arab world.

Stated Infantino, “Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium is a wonderful venue for football. The atmosphere is incredible, with the seats extremely close to the pitch. Even with a socially-distanced crowd, I could feel the passion for the game. I am sure this will be a perfect football arena in 2022 when it hosts matches during the World Cup.”

Infantino added, “I would like to congratulate Qatar on the completion of this latest World Cup project. The country is very well prepared for the next World Cup and on track to host a memorable version of the tournament – the first in the Middle East and Arab world, and the second in Asia.”

Lodged on the site of a deconstructed stadium, the new venue sits next to the Mall of Qatar and within shouting distance of Al Riffa Station – on Doha Metro’s Green Line. The stadium famously features a glowing façade, comprised patterns that characterize different aspects of Qatar: The importance of family, the beauty of the desert, native flora and fauna, and local and international trade. A fifth shape – a shield – brings together all the others, representing the strength and unity that is particularly relevant to the desert City of Al Rayyan.

H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General, SC, noted, “The inauguration of Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Qatar National Day is another important milestone on the road to 2022 and a triumph of the efforts of everyone involved to put on such a successful event during a global pandemic. The stadium and surrounding precinct are sure to be a source of pride for Al Rayyan Sports Club and everyone who lives in this historic City. As we look ahead to 2021, we look forward to unveiling more stadiums in the New Year, as we ensure that all tournament venues are delivered well in advance of the big kick-off in 2022.”

Nasser Al Khater, Chief Executive Officer, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ LLC, exulted, “Tonight was an immensely proud occasion for Qatar and the people of Al Rayyan. It was also another opportunity to test our readiness for Qatar 2022, with thousands of fans enjoying the spectacle, despite the challenges caused by the ongoing pandemic. We look forward to developing the Qatar 2022 fan experience further next year when we host more major tournaments, including the FIFA Club World Cup and FIFA Arab Cup – events which are sure to excite football lovers in Qatar, across the region and around the world.”

The match was attended by the who’s who of the football world, including Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, H.E. Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) President, Aleksander Čeferin. Also in attendance were star names such as Samuel Eto’o (Cameroonian retired professional footballer), Tim Cahill (Australian former professional footballer), Mohamed Aboutrika (Egyptian retired professional footballer) and Ali Al Habsi (Omani retired professional footballer).

Qatars 2027 AFC Asian Cup bid logo was also unveiled during the venue inauguration, with the Qatar Football Association (QFA) President, H.E. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, formally handing the country’s bid book to Sheikh Salman. The venue inauguration and logo unveiling come just two days after Doha was announced as the host City for the 2030 Asian Games, marking a remarkable sporting week for Qatar.

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