17 May 2017 - 7:24
Refurbished 2022 stadium set for Friday spectacle
By Armstrong Vas & Chinthana Wasala | The Peninsula
Added seating capacity to accommodate more fans and special LED lighting system will be two of the many upgraded features at the refurbished Khalifa International Stadium set to host the Emir Cup final on Friday.
Officials of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy yesterday said football giants Al Sadd and Al Rayyan will be the first teams to get a feel of the redesigned stadium when they contest the Emir Cup final.
After months of extensive refurbishment around the entire venue, fans won't be able to recognise the sprawling Khalifa International Stadium, one of the venues of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, an official added.
"The May 19 final between Al Rayyan and Al Sadd will serve as first major test event for the 2022 World Cup ahead of the FIFA showpiece event which is five years away," Mohammed Amin, Project Director at the Supreme Committee, told a scrum of journalists who were shown around the imposing venue yesterday.
“We have increased the seating capacity. In the remodeled venue, a new viewing experience awaits the fans. The entire spectator area is now covered by a new roof,” Amin added. The iconic stadium, which was built in 1976 and has undergone periodic renovations from time to time, will host matches up to the quarter-final stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“The Khalifa International Stadium will be one of the top 10 stadiums of the world to use LED pitch lighting, similar to those used at Stamford Bridge Chelsea, PSV Eindhoven and Amsterdam Arena,” Amin said.
Stadium has two VIP seating arrangements
The Supreme Committee official informed that the new generation cooling technology used at the Khalifa International Stadium is an improved version of one which is already in use at the Al Sadd Stadium.
Besides additional seating capacity, a roof cover, innovative cooling technology, sport museum, new ticketing system and enhanced security systems are some of the new features which have been added to the stadium.
“The cooling technology used is as per the FIFA requirements. FIFA guidelines say that the temperature in summer should not exceed 29 degrees Celsius so we will be meeting the specifications. In fact, we have done a far better job keeping the temperature at a lower level than that,” Amin informed.
He said that the stadium will have two VIP seating arrangements, in both West stand and the newly added East stand.
“There are 61 hospitality suites in the eastern section of the stadium besides VIP suites in the western section and studios for television broadcasts,” Amin said.
The 2022 World Cup organisers have also made the stadium easily accessible for people with special needs. “We have allotted an area in the East stand for people with special needs. And we will have corporate boxes in East Stand," Amin said.
For the first time, an additional security fence has been erected around the stadium for the Emir Cup final, the official said.
Amin informed that the security personnel have been receiving training on a periodic basis and assured that they will be more ‘spectator friendly’. “We have increased the number of CCTV cameras around the stadium and a new ticketing system is in place for spectators coming in and going out,” said the official.