The first of eight World Cup venues in Qatar is officially complete and will host its debut football match this weekend, organizers have announced.
After three years of renovations, Khalifa International Stadium in Al Waab will open to the public for the Emir Cup final on Friday, May 19.
The stadium was first built more than 40 years ago and opened in 1976. It was then extensively refurbished to host the Asian Games in 2006.
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It is now once again being remodeled and modernized for the World Cup, with redesigned arches and new canopies to provide shade for spectators. There’s also a cooling system for players and fans.
In a statement, Qatar Football Association President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani said:
“We are happy that the Khalifa International Stadium will again host football matches in Qatar. The stadium has been witness to the most prominent sporting achievements of Qatar and is a venue that is closest to Qatari hearts.”
In addition to local matches, the 40,000 seater stadium is expected to host the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships.
During Friday’s match, Al Rayyan will face off against Al Sadd, which is led by former FC Barcelona player Xavi.
The game will be a rematch of sorts for the two teams, which clashed during last month’s Qatar Cup semifinals.
Al Sadd beat Al Rayyan and then went on to defeat El Jaish in the finals to clinch the title.
Opening ceremonies begin at 6:30pm, and kickoff is at 7pm.
The first batch of 10,000 tickets are already on sale at Villaggio and City Center malls and cost QR30/person.
They will also be sold at Souq Waqif starting today and at the stadium during the day of the event, the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) said.
Who’s going? Thoughts?