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 His Highness the Amir 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.
HE 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, who was present at the Amir Cup final yesterday, 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 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.”
Al Jamal went on to say the people of Al Thumama were considered from the beginning of the project. “We are proud that all our venues will make a positive impact in their local communities,” said Al Jamal. “Al Thumama, in particular, will have a major role to play in terms of sporting facilities for local people after the World Cup. It will become a focal point for the community and a constant positive reminder of the first World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world.”