The stadium has been inaugurated exactly two years before the final of the 2022 World Cup…
The Ahmad Bin Ali stadium in Al Rayyan has become the fourth fully operational stadium for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after the inauguration on December 18, Friday, which is also the Qatar National Day.
The stadium hosted the 48th Amir Cup final between Al Sadd and Al Arabi to mark its inauguration, a game which finished 2-1 in favour of Al Sadd, coached by Xavi Hernandez.
The Ahmad Bin Ali stadium joins the Khalifa, Al Janoub and Education City stadiums as venues for the 2022 World Cup already unveiled. The 40,000-capacity stadium will host seven matches till the Round of 16 stage during the 2022 World Cup and will function as the home of Qatar Stars League (QSL) outfit Al Rayyan.
The stadium has been named after Sheikh Ahmad bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar who ruled from 1960 to 1972. Qatar gained its independence as a sovereign state in September 1971 under his rule.
Before the Amir Cup final, there was a spectacular ceremony which featured 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.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino was present at the stadium to oversee its inauguration. Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, H.E. Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, and UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin were also in attendance along with star names such as Samuel Eto’o, Tim Cahill, Mohamed Aboutrika and Ali Al Habsi.
“Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium is a wonderful venue for football,” said Infantino. “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 continued: “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.”
The Ahmad Bin Ali stadium is adjacent to the Mall of Qatar and is within walking distance of Al Riffa Station – on Doha Metro’s Green Line.
Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (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 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, 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 which are sure to excite football lovers in Qatar, across the region and around the world.”