Doha, 16 June 2020 - FIFA president Gianni Infantino paid tribute to the frontline workers battling the coronavirus pandemic while expressing confidence that football will emerge stronger than ever when Qatar hosts the World Cup in 2022.
“Tonight, we pay a very special tribute to those who suffered, fought and are still fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic and giving us a remarkable example of resilience during such a difficult moment,” Infantino said at the opening of the Education City Stadium which was held digitally yesterday.
“We must not forget: health comes first. In some parts of the world, it is already possible to look ahead to better times. In others, we still have to be extremely careful, stay strong and united. In the meantime, the new stadium in Education City reminds us that football will return, and with more passion than ever,” he added
The Education City Stadium is the third tournament-ready venue for the prestigious global sporting gala; the Khalifa International Stadium and the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakra are operational and have hosted several matches already.
Nicknamed the ‘Diamond in the Desert’, the 40,000-capacity venue, located within Qatar Foundation’s Education City, is the first World Cup stadium to achieve a five-star sustainability rating under the Global Sustainability Assessment System.
Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), said: “The completion of Education City Stadium is yet another milestone as we inch ever closer to the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world.
“Launching the stadium now – while the world is overcoming the coronavirus pandemic – shows everyone that there is light at the end of the tunnel and brighter days ahead. We are proud to pay tribute to the frontline workers who remain at the forefront in the battle against Covid-19 and look forward to bringing the world together – at this stadium and others – using the unifying power of football in 2022.”
Nasser al-Khater, CEO, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC, said: “The atmosphere will be electric at Education City Stadium when it hosts matches during the World Cup. This is a football lover’s stadium and one we are certain fans from around the world will enjoy during Qatar 2022.
“Providing unique experiences for fans and players alike in 2022 is central to our planning, and we will stage several events across various venues in the lead-up to the tournament to test our readiness and refine our plans to guarantee that everyone visiting Qatar in 2022 has an exceptional time.”
Yasir al-Jamal, Chairman of the SC’s Operations Office and Vice-Chairman, Technical Delivery Office, said: “We are very proud to announce the completion of our third tournament-ready stadium, following the successful redevelopment of Khalifa International Stadium in 2017 and the inauguration of Al Janoub Stadium last year.
“All of our projects remain on track and, as we celebrate this milestone today, we also look forward to marking many more between now and the big kick-off on 21 November 2022, including the completion of two more stadiums before the end of this year – the 40,000-capacity Al Rayyan Stadium and the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium.”
Machaille Hassan al-Naimi, President of Community Development, Qatar Foundation, said: “Education City Stadium will be a focal point for the world of football in 2022, and for the people of Qatar for many decades to come after the tournament.
“The legacy of this magnificent venue, standing at the centre of our Qatar Foundation community, will be reflected by its continuing role as a hub of sporting activity, inspiring people to embrace healthy lifestyles; as a space for education and the acquisition of knowledge; and as a destination for people to gather and interact. In its design, message and purpose, Education City Stadium is a true standard-bearer for sustainability.”
In addition to the coverage on the SC’s social media platforms, Education City Stadium’s completion was marked by special coverage on beIN SPORTS, Al Kass TV, Al Rayyan TV and Qatar TV yesterday night.