Tuesday 30 November 2021, 23:00

FIFA President reflects on stunning opening day at FIFA Arab Cup™

  • FIFA President attends several matches on opening day in Qatar

  • Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani also spoke at the opening ceremony

  • Mr Infantino: “It’s a fantastic celebration of football, of Arab football and world football”

A stadium packed with 47,813 fans joined FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Emir of Qatar HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, several Heads of State and authorities and Presidents from member associations to enjoy the inauguration ceremony of Al Bayt Stadium and to mark the official opening of FIFA Arab Cup 2021™.

The entertaining opening ceremony was a historical journey from the past to the present, with messages of unity to Arabs as the FIFA President enjoyed a thrilling opening day of the inaugural tournament, including Qatar’s opener against Bahrain.

“I am very happy today,” said President Infantino after watching matches that were played in Groups A and B. “It is a fantastic celebration of football, of Arab football and of world football.”

“The stadiums are so fantastic, and everyone is looking forward to the Arab Cup now and the [FIFA] World Cup after,” he added.

Emir of Qatar HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani marked the opening of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™ with welcoming words as he wished the best to all the participating teams in the competition.

"I announce the opening of the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup. Wishing all the national teams the best of luck. We welcome all the Arabs in the Doha of Arabs."

Speaking about Al Bayt stadium, the design of which was inspired from the traditional tents of the people of nomadic Qatar and the region, President Infantino said that it is a unique stadium as the word Al Bayt is derived from the Arabic word for “House”.

“It is the house where everyone is uniting, where everyone is coming together,” he added. “It is a symbol for what the [FIFA] World Cup represents. The Arab Cup represents today what the World Cup will represent next year of people coming together, of people being united from all over the world.

“So, to have games in such a beautiful stadium, in such a symbolic stadium, is something that we have to cherish and that will be crucial for the success of the World Cup,” continued President Infantino.

Mr Infantino talked about the importance of organising the FIFA Arab Cup and what it brings to the people in the region.

“I am very happy that we are able to create the FIFA Arab Cup. It is a FIFA event, a FIFA tournament, and an important tournament. It brings together over 450 million people who have a great passion for football, and who not only speak the same language with Arabic, but also who share the same universal language, which is the language of football.”

“It is important in football that we can foster these tournaments, these kinds of events, because the rivalry that exists between countries in the Arab world is special,” he added. “We have already seen in some of the games that have been played earlier today, and we will see in the other games in the Arab Cup, and we see how people feel about it. This is what makes football so special.”