The Qatar Fan Zone at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena in Al Sadd opened on Thursday, giving football fans in Qatar a chance to watch for free the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches in Russia on big screen.
“Our main goal is to give people a feeling of how the World Cup will be in 2022 (in Qatar) – family-friendly, a lot of activities for the kids and families and a lot of awareness about football,” Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) spokesperson Mead al-Emadi told reporters at the media preview of the fan zone earlier in the day.
She encouraged residents and visitors to “come and have a feel of what the atmosphere will be during (the FIFA World Cup in Qatar) 2022” at the fan zone, which can accommodate more than 1,200 spectators and with 3,000 parking spaces.
“This is summer time and we want to do it in an area where people will be comfortable and can have a lot of activities that we have planned for,” she said.
“The Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena is an essential location, it is easy for people to get to and there is a lot of parking.”
Visitors can engage in fun-filled activities and games at the fan zone.
Mead al-Emadi (left) and Jawahar al-Khuzai.
Qatar Fan Zone, organised and delivered by SC, the Ministry of Culture and Sports and Qatar Tourism Authority, will be open until July 15 from 2pm to midnight in the first two weeks of the tournament and from 4pm to midnight in the knockout stage.
On Friday, the fan zone will feature matches of Egypt vs Uruguay (3pm), Morocco vs Iran (6pm) and Portugal vs Spain (9pm).
According to SC, visitors will enjoy the free entertainment options at the venue, from football freestylers showing off their moves and sharing their tips to live concerts and football snooker matches.
The fan zone also offers an array of fun-filled activities and games such as FIFA play station lounge, human foosball, table football, augmented reality experience, virtual reality experience, arts and crafts, face painting, balloon bending, speed kick, and 1 vs 1 court, among others.
“We will have a lot of Arabic singers coming to perform here live to entertain visitors, we will have our very own Fahad al-Kubaisi in the opening ceremony,” al-Emadi said.
Apart from roaming parades and entertainment, the fan zone will also host free music concerts between matches, featuring stars from across the Middle East.
Hatim Ammor from Morocco will perform on June 25 while Cheb Khaled from Algeria is scheduled on June 28.
The quarterfinals will see Mohamed al-Fares from Iraq performing live (July 6) and Ziad Bourji from Lebanon on July 7.
Renowned Kuwaiti performers Issa Al Mazouk (July 10) and Ibrahim Dashti (July 11) will be at the fan zone for their concert during the semifinals.
“It is not the first time we are organising the fan zone, we’ve done it in 2014 in Brazil and it was very successful,” the SC spokesperson said.
QTA's communications acting director Jawahar al-Khuzai echoed al-Emadi’s statement saying they will ensure that people will enjoy the various offerings at the fan zone.
“It is for the whole family, people can come, watch football, cheer, thrill and enjoy the food, the atmosphere, and the games,” she said.
“We welcome everybody to attend and enjoy and so we are thrilled that the World Cup is coinciding with the Qatar Summer Festival this year,” al-Khuzai noted, adding that QTA also runs big shows at different malls across the country as part of the festival this year.