'A World Cup that celebrates Arab culture' - The spectacular Al Thumama stadium truly defines Qatar 2022
Yet another key milestone on the road to the 2022 World Cup was achieved by hosts Qatar on Friday when the Al Thumama stadium was thrown open to the world. The sixth tournament-ready venue for the World Cup next year was launched with the stadium hosting the Amir Cup final between Al Sadd and Al Rayyan.
The brand new venue with a capacity of 40000 is equipped with state-of-the-art features including the revolutionary Advanced Cooling Tech and is nothing short of an engineering marvel. But in more than one way, the Al Thumama stadium is a shining symbol of what Qatar want the 2022 World Cup to represent.
Time and again, ever since Qatar won the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup, they have reiterated that football's biggest tournament coming to the Middle-East is a win for the entire Arab region.
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Hassan Al Thawadi, the Secretary-General of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) – the organization responsible for delivering the World Cup in 2022 - has often stressed the fact that next year's World Cup will be one that celebrates the Arab culture and showcases their famous hospitality to the entire world.
"This is a regional World Cup. If you look at the number of volunteers that have signed up and interested people in terms of attending events. By the end of 2021, we will be hosting the Arab Cup. All the Arab countries are participating. We continue to work to embrace the people of the region. The tournament is being held in Qatar, but it is first and foremost a regional tournament," he had stated last year.
And that commitment to the region is truly defined in the intricate construction of the Al Thumama stadium. It is also one of the very few stadiums in the world that encapsulates its local culture.
Situated 12km south of Doha, the Al Thumama stadium champions one of the biggest Arab symbols of dignity and independence.
The intricate patterns on the facade of the stadium represents the ' gahfiya ' - the traditional woven headcap worn by Arab men and boys. It is, indeed, a fundamental clothing item in the entire region and the Al Thumama is a fitting tribute to the pride and tradition of the region.
And the SC does not just envision Qatar 2022 as an event which brings together the entire region but also as a global event that where the world can learn about Arab culture and their famous hospitality.
"For the fans, it will be a moment of bonding and celebration. They should be able to look at these memories with great joy. They should experience the region and who we are in our entirety, as people. Forgetting what they see in the news and the stereotypes that have unfortunately been embedded in people's minds. An opportunity for them to actually see us as a people. Very, very similar in many ways and different in other ways. But celebrate the differences and enjoy the similarities," Al Thawadi had stated earlier.
And the Al Thumama stadium is the perfect embodiment of that statement by the SC supremo. It is a monumental marvel where the world can celebrate its cultural differences with the Arab region while enjoying the similarities, ie, football - the beautiful game.