In the presence of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, along with an enthusiastic physically distanced crowd, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium hosted the 48th Amir Cup final on Qatar National Day to become the fourth fully operational FIFA World Cup 2022™ tournament venue to be inaugurated. Today’s inauguration took place exactly two years ahead of Qatar’s 2022 final.
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 welcome the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East and the Arab world. The 40,000-capacity venue will host seven matches during Qatar 2022 up to the round-of-16 stage.
Following a spectacular 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 between Al Sadd and Al Arabi kicked off.
Among the dignitaries in attendance was FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who praised the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) for the successful completion of another Qatar 2022 tournament venue.
“The Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium is a wonderful football stadium,” said Infantino. “The atmosphere is incredible, with the seats extremely close to the pitch. Even with a physically distanced crowd, I could feel the passion of the fans. I am sure this will be a perfect football arena in 2022 when it hosts matches during the World Cup.”
He continued: “I would like to congratulate Qatar and HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on the completion of this venue. The country is very well prepared for the next FIFA World Cup and on track to host a memorable instalment of the tournament – the first in the Middle East and the Arab world.”
Built on the site of the Al Rayyan Sports Club’s former stadium, the venue is adjacent to the Mall of Qatar and within walking distance of Al Riffa station on the Doha Metro’s Green Line. The stadium’s most striking feature is a glowing façade, comprised of patterns that characterise 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 are particularly relevant to the desert city of Al Rayyan.
HE Hassan Al Thawadi, the Secretary General of the SC, said: “The inauguration of Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Qatar National Day is another important milestone on the road to 2022 and a triumph that is testament to the efforts of everyone involved in putting 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.
“Looking 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,” added Al Thawadi.
Nasser Al Khater, the Chief Executive Officer of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC, said: “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 that are sure to excite football lovers in Qatar, across the region and around the world.”
The match was attended by a host of other famous footballing faces, as well as AFC President HE Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, CONMEBOL President Alejandro Domínguez and UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.