Friday, 03 December 2021 03:53 GMT

Spectacular Al Thumama Stadium unveiled

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) By Fawad Hussain I The Peninsula

Doha: Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani attended the opening ceremony of the Al Thumama Stadium and the Amir Cup final yesterday as Qatar achieved a new milestone on the Road to 2022. 

The Personal Representative of H H the Amir, H H Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani; H H Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani; Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, H E Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani; and a number of Their Excellencies sheikhs and ministers were also present along with the FIFA President Gianni Infantino and a number of heads of Arab and international sports associations. 

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 venue Al Thumama Stadium, which was unveiled to the world yesterday, is the sixth tournament-ready venue after the Khalifa International, Al Janoub, Education City, Ahmad Bin Ali and Al Bayt stadiums. 

The amazing 40,000-capacity stadium was opened ahead of the eagerly-awaited Amir Cup final between country's football giants Al Sadd and Al Rayyan.

The packed stadium, with fans cheering every moment of the nerve-wrecking title clash, saw Al Sadd edging Al Rayyan on penalties 5-4 after a 1-1 draw to retain their Amir Cup title.  The Amir crowned champions Al Sadd, coached by Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez.     

Earlier, mostly children performed in front of 40,000 fans in an impressive opening ceremony of the spectacular FIFA World Cup venue.  Stunning fireworks at the venue also wowed fans before and after the final.   

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.

Al Thumama Stadium will host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 matches through to the quarter-finals and will also play a prominent role during this year's FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021. 

The design of the venue represents the gahfiya—a traditional woven cap worn by men and boys across the Middle East.

“It has a very special place in our heart. I mean it is part of our national headgear or national dress,” Secretary-General at Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Hassan Al Thawadi said yesterday.  

“There's no doubt that we feel that it's a common element or a common thread that unites us all and a celebration of Arabic culture,” he added.

With the inauguration of the latest venue, Qatar reaffirmed the preparations for the FIFA World Cup are on track. 

Secretary-General at Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Hassan Al Thawadi said:“With 13 months to go, I'm very proud to say that we are definitely on schedule to hosting the fans in the first World Cup in the Middle East and the Arab world. All infrastructure, I think about ninety eight percent already completed, whether we're talking about transportation or ICT or otherwise in terms of stadiums by the first quarter of next year.” 

“All stadiums will be ready, functioning and operational as well. We have a very big test ahead of us, which is the FIFA Arab Cup in November and December, and we will be testing our operational plans and models.”

Two more World Cup stadiums — Ras Abu Aboud and Al Bayt stadiums — will be inaugurated during the FIFA Arab Cup, while, Lusail Stadium, which will host the Qatar 2022 final, is expected to be opened early next year. 

Meanwhile, the Local Organising Committee of the Amir Cup final made flawless arrangements during the final, which also witnessed a capacity crowd in a stadium for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.  Spectators who have either recently recovered from coronavirus or have been vaccinated were allowed to attend the match. Hours before the final, thousands of fans flocked to the stadium to watch the final and LOC ensured smooth operations.

The CEO of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Nasser Al Khater, said:“I want to tell fans that basically Qatar is one of the top 20 safe countries in the world. It's the number one safe country in the Middle East. Fans need to be assured that security is utmost importance and a priority for the state of Qatar to make sure that the fans have have a safe World Cup. So that's something I want to reassure the fans and for them to know that Qatar is a very safe country.” 

 Xavi, meanwhile, hailed the Al Thumama Stadium as one of the best venues.“It is an amazing, amazing stadium with great facilities. We are very excited to play the final here,” he said.



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