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THE renovated Khalifa International Stadium, a proposed venue of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is set for a grand opening with the Emir’s Cup final on May 19.

The 40,000-seater stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2006 Asian Games as well as 2011 Asian Cup final, is also earmarked as the venue for the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

“The turf was laid recently inside the stadium and finishing touches are being made. The plan is to open the facility by hosting the Emir’s Cup final, which had been an annual feature at the historic venue. It should be a grand event as it’ll be Qatar’s first World Cup venue to be opened,” a Qatar Football Association (QFA) official told Doha Stadium Plus.

QFA’s Social Media Specialist Abdulrahman Ahmed said the fans would get to see and listen to some of the interesting behind-the-scene stories on the occasion.

“End of the season and opening of a World Cup venue; it’s going to be a really big event. We’ll celebrate its opening on the social media by giving the fans many behind-the-scene stories,” said Abdulrahman.

Built in 1976 and refurbished for the Asian Games, the Khalifa International Stadium, situated in the Aspire Zone, underwent another renovation to meet the FIFA standards after the design was unveiled during the Gulf Cup in Riyadh in November, 2014.

The facility will have an ultra-modern shape and dual arches. It will include a new building in the east wing and also house the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic Sports Museum featuring historic collections and interactive exhibits.

Inside the stadium, all seating areas will be protected from the elements by a canopy, with the temperature being controlled by cooling technology.

“Khalifa International Stadium is a historic venue in the eyes of the local community and region. The fan and player experience in 2022 will ensure that it becomes a memorable venue for the world,” Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy’s Deputy Executive Director (Competition Venues) Youssif Al Musleh said after the first pitch for the showpiece event was laid at the venue in a world-record time of 13-and-a-half hours. 

With state-of-the-art facilities and most-modern transport connections including metro rail, the arena should continue to attract top-class football fixtures and other international sports events in future. 

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