To commemorate a momentous milestone on the road to 2022 – the reopening of Khalifa International Stadium – we celebrate one of Qatar's most iconic sporting venues from its beginnings as a host of an early Gulf Cup to the ultramodern arena now ready for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™.
A treasured look at the past
Since its construction for the 1976 Gulf Cup – the first to be held in Qatar – the stadium has been at the heart of sport in this country and Asia as a whole. The second Gulf Cup tournament staged at the stadium, in 1992, ended with Qatar lifting the trophy for the first time.
It has welcomed legendary national teams such as Brazil, Argentina and England, in addition to prestigious tournaments like the AFC Asian Cup.
This historic venue has also opened its arms to multisport competitions such as the Asian Games and Pan Arab Games. It was central to a truly spectacular edition of the Asian Games in 2006 – the first time that all 45 members of the Olympic Council of Asia participated.
A new look for a new era
The stadium's new design was launched in November 2014 at the 22nd Gulf Cup in Riyadh. People from across the region were united in excitement as they saw their beloved venue's new look for the first time.
The plans included a distinctive stadium bowl shape. An additional 12,000 seats would be added, to take the capacity to 48,000 (40,000 for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™). Its iconic twin arches would remain, to live long in the memories of visiting football fans.
Pictured before the redevelopment, the arena's athletics track remains a key part of future plans. It will welcome the world's best athletes for the IAAF World Championships, which Qatar is set to host in 2019.
Building a new legacy
Renovation began in the summer of 2014. Teams of workers applied their expertise to develop a stadium that will host matches through to the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™.
The arena's outer façade was completely replaced, resulting in a futuristic new face for an old friend. This was some of the last work to be finished as the stadium geared up for its long-awaited return to action.
When completed, the new 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum will be connected to the stadium via a walkway, symbolically linking Qatar's sporting past to the standard-bearer of its bright future.
After three years of remarkable renovation work, Khalifa International Stadium will offer fans at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ – and events beyond – perfect views of the action, wherever they sit.
Before the arena's magnificent roof was completed, steel tension cables – weighing a total of 4,000 tonnes – were put in place to support it.
The iconic twin arches – which were dismantled and reinstalled during the renovation process – can be seen for kilometres around and will become a lasting symbol of this breathtaking arena and the 2022 FIFA World Cup™.
The highest point of the stadium structure is over 100 metres above the ground.
A specialist crane operator was brought in from India to install the last section of the arches, which weighed 47 tonnes. The crane used for this precision task, meanwhile, weighed more than 600 tonnes.
The striking form of The Torch Doha hotel has become an iconic part of the skyline, rising high over Khalifa International Stadium. As its name suggests, the hotel was built to house a gigantic flame for the 2006 Asian Games.
The impressive roof structure provides shade to fans, while allowing the pitch enough sunlight to grow and recover after each use.
Thousands of workers from all over the globe helped to turn the bold vision for this arena into reality.
Dawn of a new era
The new Khalifa International Stadium sits within Aspire Zone. It is also home to Aspire Academy, where the next generation of sporting talent is being nurtured, and a FIFA-accredited sports medicine hospital, a water sports complex and the world's largest indoor multisport arena.
After three years of tireless preparation, the finishing touches were applied in early May 2017.
One of Qatar's oldest sporting landmarks, Khalifa International Stadium stands proud once again – ready for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ and beyond.