Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi has been named one of Asia's greatest grounds and iconic stadiums of Asia in the last 30 years, in light of its distinguished architectural design and its capacity to host major sporting events.
Zayed Sports City Stadium is a traditional, open-air stadium with an innovative design and is defined on its exterior by iconic arches. Within the stadium is a full-size football pitch and a wide concrete apron surrounds it.
The stadium was designed in 1974 and inaugurated in January 1980, reported the state news agency Wam.
Its construction project was divided into three phases, the first included the main football stadium and track and field facilities around the stadium, in addition to six other grass training pitches with terraces and capacity of some 1,000 spectators.
The city has an external wall measuring 5.6 km, a public services facility, power stations, and a network of internal roads with a total length of 14 km. The first phase was completed in January 1980 at a cost of Dh550 million ($150 million), stated the report.
The second phase of the project included an indoor stadium with a capacity of 5,000 spectators and equipped with indoor facilities according to the highest Olympic standards, while the third stage included swimming pools, a cultural complex, a social club, and an international tennis court complex.
The total cost of all the three phases amounted to Dh1.2 billion ($326 million). An Olympic-sized ice skating rink was then constructed..
According to Wam, the iconic stadium had its first comprehensive redevelopment in 2009, and its capacity was reduced to 43,000 spectators. Development work continued in 2015 when it was turned into an architectural masterpiece.
The stadium currently has 42,355 seats for the public, and 1,436 seats for VIPs, in addition to a large platform for media professionals with a capacity of 277 journalists, it stated.
The stadium is located inside a sports city established on an area of 12 million-sq-ft for all types of sports, including swimming, athletics, tennis and bowling.
Following its opening, the stadium has hosted many major championships, including the sixth Arabian Gulf Cup in 1982, several Olympic Games qualifiers, the Club World Cup in 2009-10, 2017-18 and Asian Nations Cup Finals last year as well as the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi 2019.
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