Following a digital launch announcing the completion of Education City Stadium in June this year, specially programmed as a tribute to frontline healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, the venue will now host its first official match.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stadium will welcome QNB Stars League (QSL) sides Al Sadd SC and Al Kharaitiyat SC for the 2020/2021 season opener at 6.15pm on Thursday, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) has said.
Dubbed the 'Diamond in the Desert', Education City Stadium has a capacity of 40,000 and is set to host matches up to and including the quarter-finals stage during the FIFA World Cup 2022. The stadium is located in the heart of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, and surrounded by leading universities, educational institutions and recreational facilities.
Once the FIFA World Cup is over, the stadium’s capacity will be reduced by half, with 20,000 seats used as part of legacy programmes that will support the creation of sports facilities in developing countries around the world.
Education City Stadium was the first tournament venue to achieve a five-star design and build rating from the Global Sustainability Assessment System, and as with all FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ stadiums, advanced cooling technologies ensure comfortable temperatures year-round for players and fans.
Commenting on the significance of the return to football in light of the global pandemic, Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary-general of the SC, said: “Seeing the gradual, safe return of fans to stadiums around the world is a true testament to our resilience as societies, and to the great work that was carried out by frontline healthcare workers in Qatar and beyond. We are really excited to mark the return to football in Qatar at our newest stadium, and give fans and players a taste of what to look forward to in 2022 and beyond.”
Nasser al-Khater, CEO of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, added: “The digital launch of Education City Stadium in June, marking the readiness of the third FIFA World Cup venue after Al Janoub and Khalifa International stadiums, was a major tournament milestone that was delivered under exceptionally challenging circumstances, and set the standard for the innovative nature of Qatar 2022.
"Hosting QSL matches, among numerous others this season at the venue, is a vital opportunity for us to test and refine the stadium's operational readiness and ensure it helps deliver on our promises to players and fans in the build-up to and during the tournament in 2022.”
When asked about the importance of hosting the opening match of this season, QSL CEO Hani Taleb Ballan said, “It’s a privilege for the QSL to have its season opener be the first match to be played at Education City Stadium, particularly as we are safely and gradually welcoming fans back into stadiums across Qatar.”
With the launch of the 2020/2021 QNB Stars League season, fans will be allowed to attend matches in accordance with the safety regulations outlined in Phase 4 of the controlled phased lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in Qatar.
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