Khalifa International Stadium opens with event attended by more than 40,000 people in Doha
Qatar has launched the first 2022 FIFA World Cup stadium – five years before the tournament begins – at an event attended by more than 40,000 people in Doha.
Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani cut the ribbon and officially launched the new Khalifa International Stadium at an inauguration ceremony that included a light show from newly installed LED lights, a performance from the Emiri Guard and a fireworks display for the sell-out crowd.
This was followed by the kick-off for the final of the Emir Cup, Qatar’s biggest domestic tournament. The final was the first sporting event held at the stadium, and it saw Spain’s Xavi Hernandez lift the trophy for his Qatari club, Al Sadd.
“As organisers, to see a 2022 FIFA World Cup stadium already delivered and fully operational is a great joy, besides giving us confidence regarding the level of preparations in Qatar. There is undoubtedly strong commitment from the local authorities through the Supreme Committee and although five years seems a long way off, the benefit of time will make sure Qatar delivers an amazing tournament in 2022,” said Gianni Infantino, FIFA president.
Expanded to seat 40,000 spectators, the stadium has undergone extensive renovation works ahead of the tournament, when it will host matches until the quarter-finals. These include the installation of cooling technology that was promised during Qatar’s successful bid. Officials said that it kept the pitch at 20C and the stands at 23C, while using 40% less energy than traditional cooling methods.
“The completion of our first stadium more than five years before the Qatar World Cup begins is an important milestone that reflects our determination to deliver a tournament the entire Arab world is proud to be a part of,” said Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC).
“As we promised in our bid, our innovative stadiums offer an unrivalled experience to fans and players alike. I’m proud we can show these off to the world and welcome fans with the hospitality this World Cup will be remembered for.”
The other new features at the stadium include the installation of a larger roof over the entire spectator area, while an intricate net of German and Italian-made steel tension cables weighing 4,000 tonnes has been installed, which will hold 92 panels in place. The stadium will also be the first FIFA World Cup venue and the first stadium in the region to be lit by LED lighting, which is both more sustainable and more versatile than traditional lighting.
“Khalifa International Stadium is close to Qatari hearts and has seen some of Qatar’s biggest sporting occasions over the years since it was first launched in 1976,” said Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, Qatar Football Association president.
“It was therefore a fitting venue for the biggest match of Qatar’s football calendar, the 2017 Emir Cup final between Al Rayyan and Al Sadd. I’m glad the fans got to enjoy this event in such a magnificent remodelled stadium.”