Tradition and innovation come together as striking Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah City is opened

  • Design by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid was inspired by sails of dhow boats

  • Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah City is the second proposed FIFA World Cup 2022™ venue to open its doors, the first to be built from scratch

  • Glittering opening was attended by FIFA President, Secretary General and football icons

Used in early times for pearl diving, fishing and trading with neighbouring countries, every evening the wooden dhow boats brightly light up the Corniche – Doha’s famous waterfront promenade. Tonight, 20 kilometres further south down the peninsula’s coast, a 40,000-seater, ultramodern stadium, inspired by the sails of those traditional Arab vessels, was lit up for the first time.

In the presence of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, a crowd of 38,678 spectators witnessed the Al Janoub Stadium’s splendid opening ceremony in Al Wakrah City, which was followed by the crowning of Al-Duhail as the winners of this year’s Amir’s Cup after a 4-1 victory over Al Sadd in the final.

“The stadium is extraordinary,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who attended the stadium opening together with FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura. “I was here seven months ago during the final stages of construction.

“I am delighted to see how beautiful and functional it is, but I am not surprised. Qatar is working very hard to excel when it comes to every aspect of the tournament. Today, we have seen even more proof of their capability and commitment, and we will keep working side by side towards all other milestones that will come our way until 2022."

The match also took on added significance as Xavi Hernandez, who has played for Al Sadd since 2015, recently announced that he would retire at the end of the season.

“Xavi is among the greatest midfielders I have seen. His achievements with Barcelona and Spain place him in a very select group of absolutely legendary players. Over the past few years here in Doha, his leadership has become even more evident as he has supported the younger players and even predicted that Qatar would win the AFC Asian Cup when few believed that was possible. We couldn’t be happier with having him in the next FIFA World Cup host country, inspiring people and contributing towards Qatar’s goal to succeed both on and off the pitch,” added Infantino.

With three-and-a-half years still to go before the FIFA World Cup™ kicks off, Qatar can be proud of having already delivered two of the eight stadiums proposed to host the tournament. While the Khalifa International Stadium was built in the 1970s and re-opened after renovation in 2017, Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah City is the first brand-new Qatar 2022 venue to be completed from scratch.

“This venue will wow football fans flocking to Qatar in 2022, and the fact that such an astonishing project has been designed by an Arab woman makes it absolutely unique. Besides offering a beautiful and modern stage for footballers to shine, Al Janoub will also inspire girls across the region to dream big, work hard and achieve great things,” said Fatma Samoura when referring to the work of late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid.

The Al Janoub Stadium is set to host matches up to and including the Qatar 2022 quarter-finals. In legacy mode, it will be reduced to a 20,000-seater stadium and become the home of local football team Al Wakrah Sports Club. An innovative cooling system and retractable roof will enable the stadium to be used all year round.

“The stadiums are the beating heart of any World Cup. It truly makes a difference to play football in an inspiring venue, and I am sure that the Al Janoub Stadium will be one of those unforgettable ones. Years from now, I can see players thinking back to the matches that were held here and cherishing the memories of having played in such a stunning arena,” said 1998 FIFA World Cup™ winner with France Youri Djorkaeff, who attended the opening match together with several other football icons.

France's Youri Djorkaeff takes on Italy defenders Paolo Maldini and Billy Costacurta at France 1998.

For full coverage around the opening of the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah City, visit