Education City Stadium set for COVID-19-themed inauguration

Education City Stadium is set to be the third venue officially completed for Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup when it is inaugurated later this month.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the local organising body of the national team football tournament, has announced an event will be held to mark the occasion on June 15.

“The stadium’s completion will be marked on June 15 with a live programme which celebrates the contribution of front-line workers during the coronavirus pandemic,” the SC said, according to Al Jazeera.  “The show will also discuss the future of sport, mental health and fan experience in a post-COVID-19 world.”

Located on the outskirts of the capital Doha in the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, construction work on the 40,000-seat stadium was completed in December.

In February, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup “stand where no other host did before” as the SC and world football’s governing body marked the 1,000-day countdown to the event by providing an update on the massive infrastructure project involved in staging the tournament.

Two stadiums are already fully operational – Khalifa International reopening in May 2017 after redevelopment and Al Janoub Stadium inaugurated in May 2019. Two more venues – Al Rayyan and Al Bayt – are also set to be inaugurated this year.

Education City Stadium, nicknamed the ‘Diamond in the Desert’, is proposed to host matches up to and including the quarter-finals stage during Qatar 2022. Delivered by Pattern Architects following initial design by FIA Fenwick Iribarren Architects, it is the first Qatar 2022 venue to achieve a five-star design and build rating from GSAS.

Following Qatar 2022, the stadium’s capacity will be reduced by half and 20,000 seats will be donated to help build venues in developing countries.

The official opening of Education City Stadium was pushed back until early 2020 back in December. As a result, Khalifa International Stadium hosted three additional matches during the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup. Education City Stadium had been due to stage the final, third-place play-off match and one semi-final.

Although construction work had been completed at Education City Stadium and the venue is operational, FIFA said that the necessary certification process had taken longer than expected. As a result, the venue had been unable to stage the required test events before hosting the semi-final and final of the Club World Cup at full capacity.

Image: Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy