By Staff Reporter/Doha
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani inaugurated the Khalifa International Stadium yesterday and, on behalf of every Qatari and Arab citizen, declared it ready to host the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup. This is the first 2022 WC venue to be completed and it has been done five years before the start of the event.
The inauguration was attended by HH the Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani and President of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
HH Personal Representative of HH the Emir Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani, HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani, HE Sheikh Jassim bin Khalifa al-Thani, HE Advisory Council Speaker Mohamed bin Mubarak al-Khulaifi, and HE President of Qatar Olympic Committee Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani also attended the inauguration.
Also attending the inauguration were representative of the Bahraini King for Charity Works and Youth Affairs, Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and President of Bahrain Olympic Committee Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifah, President of the Asian Football Confederation Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifah, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, President of the Union of Arab Football Associations Prince Turki bin Khalid al-Saud, as well as a number of officials from Arab and international sports federations, members of the press, and the public.
HH the Emir walked into the packed stadium to a huge round of applause. He then greeted FIFA president Infantino before taking his seat. The inauguration ceremony began with the official band playing the Qatari national anthem. The lights of the stadium were then switched off and a violinist took centre stage. A timeline of the Khalifa International Stadium was shown on the huge screens inside the stadium. As the violinist continued playing, highlights of the 2006 Asian Games and friendly football matches held in the country were shown. Then highlights of that historic moment on December 2, 2010, when Qatar were declared as hosts of the 2022 World Cup were shown.
Before the start of the ceremony, red and white lights were given to the spectators. Along with the lights from the mobile phones, it made for a spectacular backdrop for the ceremony.
HH the Emir then cut the ribbon to officially declare the stadium open. A packed stadium cheered as the lights came back on. The ceremony concluded with an amazing fireworks display. The fireworks were set off both inside and outside the venue, including on the iconic twin arches of the Khalifa International Stadium.
In the Emir Cup final that followed Al Sadd defeated Al Rayyan 2-1 to become the first team to win a title in a 2022 World Cup stadium.
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