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Qatar Opens Fifth 2022 World Cup Venue

Qatar Opens Fifth 2022 World Cup Venue

Saturday, 23 October, 2021 - 05:30
Exterior view of the Al-Thumama Stadium KARIM JAAFAR AFP

The launch of the Al Thumama stadium, 12 kilometres south of the capital Doha, comes as the Gulf country seeks to operate arenas at 100 percent capacity during the World Cup.

The 40,000-seat ground, which will host groups matches during Qatar 2022 up to the quarter-finals, hosted the domestic Emir Cup final between local clubs Al Rayyan and Al Sadd as its inaugural match.

Qatar's ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and FIFA president Gianni Infantino attended the opening ceremony, AFP reported.

It was designed by Qatari architect Ibrahim M. Jaidah to resemble the 'gahfiya' cap, traditionally worn by men in the region.

Qatar has so far officially inaugurated five of the eight stadiums that will lay the stage for the first World Cup in the Middle East.

In addition to Al Thumama, Qatar has so far inaugurated new-build Ahmad Bin Ali, Al-Janoub and Education City stadiums alongside the refurbished Khalifa ground in the heart of Doha's Aspire Zone.

Ras Abu Aboud, Al Bayt, Lusail, which will host the final match in December 2022, remain to be opened.

Following the World Cup, Al Thumama's capacity will be reduced to 20,000, with a sports clinic and a boutique hotel set to open on site.

Fans were able to apply for tickets to Friday's event if they either tested positive for virus antibodies, or have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Qatar, which says it vaccinated more than three quarters of its 2.75 million population, has recorded more than 238,000 infections since the beginning of the pandemic.

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