The Khalifa International Stadium fan zone catered to more than 85,000 football fans from the beginning of the 2018 FIFA World Cup group stages up to the final, it was announced on Wednesday.
This was made possible “thanks to the relentless and dedicated efforts of Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC)”, according to a press statement.
“Since Day 1, AZF has left no stone unturned to provide an unparalleled experience for community members in Qatar, who watched the 2018 World Cup matches in Russia from the seats of the first completed venue of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” the statement noted.
The fan zone provided a sneak peak of what the 2022 FIFA World Cup fan zone would be like.
Thousands of fans flocked to Khalifa International Stadium to experience football at its best, where they enjoyed the giant LED screen and the futuristic cooling technology that can lower temperatures down to the average of 23C to beat Doha’s summer heat.
The Aspire Zone Foundation delegation at Majlis Qatar in Moscow.
“The KIS fan zone itself showcased what Qatar and Aspire Zone Foundation are good at: organising major international sporting events, particularly as the dream of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will soon become a reality,” the organisers stressed.
From planning to execution, AZF established the KIS fan zone from scratch with the support of its experienced logistics, hospitality, marketing, communications and hospitality teams.
Commenting on the successful organisation of the fan zone, Nasser Abdullah al-Hajri, director of PR and Communications at AZF, said: “Aspire Zone Foundation was present at the heart of the world’s largest sporting event in Moscow, specifically at Majlis Qatar, which was honoured by the visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
“We have mustered all our organisational and human efforts to make KIS fan zone a success and provide a unique setting for community members in Qatar, where families and football fans alike can enjoy the world’s most popular tournament in an exciting and comfortable setting. Thanks to the collective efforts of our partners and sponsors, particularly the SC and Ooredoo, the fan zone was an unparalleled success, as evidenced by the huge public and media turnout.
“Khalifa International Stadium constituted a link between the exciting World Cup in Russia and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar as it's the first completed venue of the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East.”
The KIS fan zone concluded on a positive note as the world welcomed Qatar as the next host nation of the tournament. This moment was marked by a handover ceremony from Russian President Vladimir Putin to His Highness the Amir, which took place before France sealed their place in the history books by becoming the winners of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
More than 150 media representatives and camerapersons from more than 25 local, pan-Arab and international media outlets, including giant South American broadcasters TV Globo (Brazil) and Univision / Telemundo (Mexico), covered the fan zone activities.
This year’s fan zone was sponsored by the SC (main partner), Ooredoo (main sponsor), Al-Attiyah Motors and Trading Company, Mannai Trading Co (Cisco), Witr Jewellery, Royal Air Maroc (RAM) and Pepsi.
What the VIPs said
* The atmosphere among spectators was excellent and it felt just like watching a match from the stands. Aspire Zone Foundation has done a great job with the fan zone at Khalifa International Stadium - Abdelaziz Seba, ambassador of Algeria to Qatar
* We supported the Tunisian national team here from the iconic Khalifa International Stadium fan zone along with many diplomats and ambassadors from fellow Arab and African countries. Thanks to the stadium’s advanced cooling technology, we felt as if we were watching the games in winter - Saleh al-Salhi, ambassador of Tunisia to Qatar
* It [was] a pleasure to see so many members of the Moroccan and Arab communities cheering on our national team during their first 2018 FIFA World Cup matches - Nabil Zniber, ambassador of Morocco to Qatar
* I was very impressed with the organisation and to see so many football fans turn out to watch the matches. I thank the organisers at Aspire Zone Foundation for their efforts - Mohamed Bare, ambassador of Benin to Qatar
* I would like to thank the organisers of this iconic stadium. The vibe was very impressive, and the fans’ enthusiasm was extraordinary. It felt like I was following the matches in Moscow - Dr. Tayseer al-Shanableh, representative of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
* The exciting atmosphere we experienced in the Khalifa International Stadium fan zone gave us a sneak peek for what’s to come in four years’ time, come the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. I’d like to extend my thanks to the organisers for organising this wonderful fan zone - Sabah al-Kuwari, general manager of Al Rayyan Satellite Channel
* The atmosphere in the stadium was very exciting and lively. We felt as if we were watching the games from Russia. I was particularly impressed with the cooling technology that lowered the temperature to 22C - Essa bin Abdullah al-Hitmi, general manager of Al-Kass Sports Channels.