Qatar’s Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan was officially inaugurated today exactly two years ahead of the country hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup final.

The 40,000-capacity arena was the venue for the Amir Cup final between Al Sadd and Al Arabi, with 20,000 fans attending due to COVID-19 restrictions. All fans had to return either a negative COVID-19 test or a positive COVID-19 antibody test prior to being allowed access to the stadium.

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, set to host seven games during Qatar 2022 up to the round of 16 stage, becomes the fourth Qatar 2022 stadium to open following Khalifa International, Al Janoub and Education City.

On the day of its official opening, stadium designer Ramboll said the project was developed with the Al Rayyan area’s culture in mind. This is particularly evident in the five decorative patterns and shapes that are found within the stadium façade and around the precinct, which signify important traditions of family, local environment and history.

“Respecting the history of both Al Rayyan and Qatar was an important design objective,” said Ramboll project director, Alan Tweedie.

“Our stadium architect, Pattern Design, spent considerable time at the conceptual stage researching the history and culture. This included investigating the history of the Al Rayyan region itself. We ended up presenting four conceptual options and the chosen design was in the end a mix of many attractive options within each of the distinct proposals.”

The arena was built on the site where the old Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium once stood, with the first concrete poured in 2016.

To fully incorporate the history and traditions of the community in the project, Ramboll developed a relationship with Al Rayyan Sports Club – which will occupy the venue in future – to ensure the legacy aspect of the new stadium was properly planned.

“We spent time with Al Rayyan SC in order to understand how they operated, what worked well for them and where they would like to see improvements reflected within the stadium’s legacy,” said Tweedie.

“We had the privilege of attending the last Al Rayyan home game, as VIP guests, before the old stadium was decommissioned – a game we are glad to report Al Rayyan won. This created a bond between the club and the designers, which reminded us during the various design stages that we were in fact designing the club’s new home, not just a venue for a four-week long tournament.”

Image: Qatar 2022