By Sports Reporter/Doha
With less than two years to go before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 takes place, two tournament venues will be given a global showcase when Ahmad Bin Ali and Education City stadiums stage the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020.
The club champions from five of football’s six continental confederations, along with Qatar Stars League holders Al Duhail SC, will contest seven matches to determine the best club side in the world. The tournament will take place from February 4-11 – two months later than originally planned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Auckland City, who were nominated to represent the Oceania region at Qatar 2020, withdrew from the competition because of Covid-19 quarantine measures required by authorities in New Zealand.
The tournament will provide a fresh opportunity for Qatar to test the readiness of these two venues, in particular Ahmad Bin Ali, which was inaugurated on 18 December when it hosted the 48th Amir Cup final between Al Sadd SC and Al Arabi SC.
In addition, the tournament will highlight Qatar’s compact nature. Ahmad Bin Ali and Education City are within close proximity of one another, along with accommodation and tourist sites throughout the country. They are also easily accessible via the Doha Metro Green Line, with stations within walking distance of each stadium. As well as offering a seamless experience for players, fans and officials, the tournament provides a preview of what fans can expect when Qatar hosts the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world in 2022.
Recently unveiled as the fourth tournament-ready venue for Qatar 2022, Ahmad Bin Ali will host three matches at the FIFA Club World Cup 2020, starting with a second-round match between CONCACAF Champions League holders Tigres UANL and AFC Champions League winners Ulsan Hyundai on 4 February. The venue will also stage the competition’s fifth-place play-off on 7 February before playing host to the second semi-final between European giants Bayern Munich and the winner of the Al Duhail vs Al Ahly second-round match on February 8.
Located 22km from Doha city centre, the 40,000-capacity stadium is accessible by car, taxi and public transport. Al Riffa Station – on the Doha Metro Green Line – is located within walking distance of the venue. The stadium lies adjacent to the bustling Mall of Qatar and is surrounded by a range of community facilities, including football pitches which are regularly used by teams from the Qatar Community Football League.
During Qatar 2022, Ahmad Bin Ali will host seven matches up to the round of 16 stage. After the tournament, the stadium will become the new home of popular Qatari side Al Rayyan SC.
Education City Stadium too will play a prominent role in the FIFA Club World Cup 2020.
Inaugurated last June as the third tournament-ready venue for Qatar 2022, Education City hosted a number of matches during the 2020 AFC Champions League.
With a capacity of 40,000, the venue will host four matches over three match days, including the final. This will include a second-round match between host club Al Duhail and CAF Champions League holders Al Ahly on February 4; the competition’s first semi-final, featuring the winner of the Copa Libertadores and the winner of the Tigres UANL vs Ulsan Hyundai second-round match, on February 7 and the final match day on February 11, when the third-place play-off and final are contested.
Located 13km from Doha city centre and at the heart of Qatar Foundation – a vibrant centre for knowledge and innovation – the stadium is accessible from the Doha Metro Green Line, with Education City Station situated within walking distance of the venue.
Set to host eight matches up to the quarter-finals stage during Qatar 2022, Education City became the first tournament venue to receive a five-star GSAS sustainability rating. The ‘Diamond in the Desert’ is sure to catch the eye of fans in attendance and viewers tuning in from around the world next month.
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