18 Jun 2018 – 8:50

Qatar Fan Zone kicks off with a dazzling show

A show at the opening of Qatar World Cup Fan Zone by the Ministry of Culture and Sports and Qatar Tourism Authority, yesterday. All pictures: Abdul Basit / The Peninsula

By Amna Pervaiz Rao | The Peninsula

DOHA: Qatar Fan Zone officially launched with a spectacular show at Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena in Al Sadd yesterday.

The opening ceremony, which was attended by numerous VIPs, including government officials, foreign diplomats and business leaders, featured a dazzling spectacle performed by 180 artists.

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Crowd then enjoyed a fierce game between Germany and Mexico, followed by a concert performed by Qatari singer Fahd Al Kubaisi.

Qatar Fan Zone is set to run until the 2018 FIFA World Cup final on July 15. The Fan Zone is giving residents and visitors a taste of the tournament atmosphere four years before the event is hosted right here in Qatar. It is also the highlight of the fifth Qatar Summer Festival (QSF), which runs until the end of August.

Talking to The Peninsula, Mashal Shahbik, Director of Festivals and Tourism Events at QTA, said: “Through these fan zones we are trying to convey couple of messages to the public. Firstly to bring community together and tell them Qatar is a hub to welcome everyone. Football is not only for young and adult men, it is for families too. The people who are not able to enjoy world cup in Russia, we are trying to create an environment where they can enjoy their matches sitting in fan zones.”

“Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has collaborated with the Ministry of Culture and Sports (MCS) and in partnership The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) to provide public out-standing fan zones in Qatar. These three entities came up with one solid plan to make it enjoyable for the public. Along football we have a lot of activities to entertain families which are absolutely free of charge,” she added.

Qatar Fan Zone is free to attend and gives visitors a chance to sample the excitement of the month-long tournament in an atmosphere that emulates World Cup vibes. It is one of three fan zones being organised by the SC during the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, with others being held at Katara and Hamad International Airport.

Nasser Al Khater, the SC’s Assistant Secretary General for Tournament Affairs, said: “It’s been fantastic to see so many passionate fans here today enjoying everything Qatar Fan Zone has to offer. This attraction is giving people the chance to sample a World Cup atmosphere four years before we host the biggest show on earth. I encourage families to visit the fan zone – there is something for everyone and I’m sure it will continue to be a huge success throughout the World Cup.”

Abdulrahman Musallam Al Dosari, Advisor to HE the Minister of Culture and Sports, said: “We are delighted that so many people of all ages have enjoyed attending Qatar Fan Zone over the Eid weekend. Working alongside the SC and QTA, we remain committed to enhancing the culture of sports in Qatar, as the country gets ever closer to hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”

The fan zone’s opening ceremony also marked the start of this year’s QSF, which kicked off on the first day of Eid Al Fitr. Organised by QTA, the 11-week festival is a nationwide celebration of the country’s diverse retail and hospitality offerings, complemented by a host of entertainment and sports activities.

Rashed Al Qurese, Chief Marketing and Promotion Officer at QTA, commented: “We are very pleased to have launched Qatar Fan Zone in partnership with both the SC and MCS. It is truly an example of the cross-sector collaboration required for delivering impactful tourism products and events.”

He added: “The World Cup’s overlap with the annual Qatar Summer Festival this year gives us the perfect opportunity to build our joint capabilities ahead of Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.”

Qatar Fan Zone is open daily from 2pm until midnight until June 28, and will be open daily from 4pm until midnight between June 30 and July 15.