Qatar to test new stadium during Club World Cup

DOHA (AFP) – Qatar will inaugurate the third of its eight World Cup stadiums when the Education City ground hosts the Club World Cup semi-final tie on December 18, FIFA said yesterday.

The 40,000-seat venue seven kilometres outside central Doha will also host the third-place play-off and the final of the tournament which gets underway on December 11.

The inaugural game will see Liverpool, as European champions, face either CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey, Al Sadd of Qatar or minnows Hienghene Sport of New Caledonia who are Oceania champions.

The 2022 hosts have so far inaugurated the newly-built al-Janoub stadium in May, as well as the Khalifa International stadium which opened in 1976 and was relaunched in 2017 after a full refurbishment.

“With all three venues located a maximum of 12 kilometres from central Doha, the FIFA Club World Cup 2019 will provide a glimpse of Qatar’s compact nature ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022,” FIFA said in a statement.

“Taking place around the same time of the year and with matches kicking off from 1700 local time, this year’s tournament will also give teams and fans alike the chance to experience Qatar’s mild winter.”

Secretary General of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy Hassan al-Thawadi said following Al-Janoub’s opening in May that two further new stadiums would be ready “by the end of this year (or) first quarter” 2020.