(MENAFN- The Peninsula)
Doha: Qatar's latest FIFA World Cup tournament venue was unveiled last night when Al Thumama Stadium hosted the Amir Cup Final between Al Rayyan and Al Sadd.
The stunning venue – which was designed by Qatari architect Ibrahim M Jaidah – was inaugurated in the presence of the Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, as the country marked yet another milestone on the road to 2022.
The inauguration ceremony took place prior to the final and involved local schoolchildren celebrating the design of the stadium. On the pitch, Al Sadd won the final 5-4 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. It was a record 18th victory in the competition for the Wolves.
Designed to resemble the 'gahfiya' head cap worn by men and boys across the Arab world, Al Thumama is the first FIFA World Cup stadium to be designed by a Qatari architect. The 40,000-capacity venue will host matches up to the quarter-finals stage during Qatar 2022. It follows Khalifa International, Al Janoub, Education City, Ahmad Bin Ali and Al Bayt in being declared ready to host matches during next year's tournament.
Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), said:“We are incredibly proud to have inaugurated the sixth tournament-ready stadium ahead of next year's FIFA World Cup. Al Thumama is a very special venue for everyone in Qatar. It pays tribute to an important piece of clothing that is proudly worn by men and boys across the Arab world and its unique design showcases the talent and innovation of our people.”
Al Thawadi continued:“We are now within touching distance of the World Cup. Soon we will pass the one year to go milestone and host the FIFA Arab Cup – which will give us a major opportunity to test all our plans for Qatar 2022. We stand ready and prepared to host a memorable World Cup for the benefit of Qatar, the region and the world.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said:“Qatar continues to amaze the football world and it will not stop until the curtain closes on the FIFA World Cup. Al Thumama Stadium is another work of art and carries a lot of significance for the country and the region. I cannot wait to see the first FIFA pan-Arab football tournament being held right here in a few weeks' time, and to witness the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East just one year from now.”
“I am thrilled to be here today, next to His Highness the Amir, and to have the opportunity to personally thank him for Qatar's efforts, which go way beyond delivering what will be the best FIFA World Cup ever in 2022,” added Infantino.
Nasser Al Khater, CEO, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC, described Al Thumama's inauguration as another important step on the road to 2022.
“The milestones are coming thick and fast as we get ever closer to the World Cup,” said Al Khater.
“The inauguration of Al Thumama is another important step as we ramp up preparations for the biggest sporting event ever to be held in our country and region. We look forward to inaugurating Al Bayt and Ras Abu Aboud before the end of the year, with our eighth and final stadium, Lusail, set to be launched in 2022.”
Al Khater said many important lessons were learned during the lead-up to Al Thumama's inauguration.
“Every major match we organise helps us to fine-tune our plans for 2022,” said Al Khater.
“The FIFA Arab Cup – involving 16 national teams from across the region – is yet another golden opportunity to test all our functional areas. In relation to the Amir Cup specifically, we will compile a vast number of lessons learned in the coming days and weeks, particularly in relation to ticketing, Fan ID, travel, health and safety, and others. Every event we organise between now and the World Cup is an opportunity to test our readiness and confirm our plans for the tournament.”
Al Thumama features state-of-the-art cooling technology, which will allow the venue to host events throughout the year. Its precinct includes a number of sporting facilities, including cycling and running tracks, and extensive green spaces, for the benefit of the local community.
Engineer Yasir Al Jamal, Chairman of the SC's Operations Office and Vice Chairman of the Technical Delivery Office, said:“The stadium is spectacular and the inauguration is yet another milestone in our preparations. Two more stadiums – Al Bayt and Ras Abu Aboud – will be unveiled during the FIFA Arab Cup, followed by Lusail Stadium in 2022. We have now exceeded 98% completion across our projects and remain in excellent shape ahead of next year's World Cup.”
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