As Qatar continues to make progress on the delivery of its venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™, the new design for Al Rayyan Stadium - the fifth proposed stadium for world football's showpiece event in seven years time - took place this week at a time when the club is also celebrating its return to top-flight football in the Qatar Stars League.
Al Rayyan Stadium will be built on the site of Al Rayyan Sports Club’s former stadium (Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium), which was recently demolished. During tournament mode, the stadium will have a capacity of 40,000 spectators which will be able to host group stage, Round of 16 and quarter final matches. After the tournament the stadium’s capacity will be reduced to 21,000 in legacy mode, with the upper tier of seats being removed and sent to developing nations in need of sports infrastructure.
Speaking at the design launch, Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, said: “Unveiling the design of Al Rayyan stadium is another important step forward in our preparations to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. We will continue to work tirelessly as our vision for the tournament takes shape on the ground.
“As one of the most successful and widely-supported clubs in Qatar, Al Rayyan has always played an important part in our hosting plans. We are very confident that this impressively designed stadium and precinct will become a landmark for the Al Rayyan area and benefit the entire community.”
The stadium and surrounding precinct will contain a number of facilities and features that will be used by the local population of Al Rayyan, including a mosque, members club, athletics track, cricket pitch, tennis courts, hockey pitch, football training pitches, aquatics centre, skate park and cycling track. The precinct will also house a new branch of Aspetar – the leading sports medicine hospital.
Talking to www.sc.qa, Al Rayyan’s Spanish coach Manolo Jimenez confirmed that Al Rayyan Sports Club was already feeling the positive effects of receiving confirmation of their future home: “This is an important moment for the club. We’ll be aiming high in the first division next season, and this new stadium is more modern, more functional and will have fantastic features. It will motivate the club and the fans to do even better. Now we start the Emir Cup on Friday, and we want to go all the way and reach the final and win it.”
The sense of optimism surrounding the most widely supported club in Qatar was confirmed by former Al Rayyan player Ronald de Boer, who added: “It looks very impressive, and I would like to be a player again in this new stadium. It will be a beautiful area in Qatar, also with the developments planned around the stadium. I believe the new stadium will also help to bring more fans to the matches. I remember playing in the old stadium with my brother and Sonny Anderson, playing against the likes of Guardiola and Batistuta. They are great memories, and now the new design looks amazing.”
Qatar revealed the first proposed host venue design in November 2013 – Al Wakrah Stadium. AECOM, in association with Zaha Hadid Architects, developed the design which reflects the tradition of the city, famous for its fishing and seafaring heritage. Currently, the site at Al Wakrah has started to take on shape as the first concrete was laid above ground in the stadium which will seat 40,000 spectators.
The next design to be announced was Al Bayt Stadium – Al Khor City. An entirely Qatari concept, the traditional tent-shaped design reflects the country’s proud history and culture. It has a modular design, which includes an upper tier of removable seats. Meanwhile, Khalifa International Stadium design was revealed in November 2014. The reveal of Qatar Foundation Stadium, the fourth stadium design, came exactly four years to the day after Qatar celebrated its successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup™.
With Al Rayyan Stadium now becoming the fifth proposed host venue to have its final design presented, the fans of one of Qatar’s most beloved clubs are already looking forward to the completion of their new home. And so are the players, as ‘Lions’ attacking midfielder Rodrigo Tabata confirmed after seeing the new design: “The fans of Al Rayyan deserve this new stadium. I hope I stay in the club long enough to play in this new stadium. For me it would be an amazing experience.”