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Zayed Sports City Stadium

Zayed Sports City Stadium
Full name Zayed Sports City Stadium
Location Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Owner Mubadala Development Company
Operator Abu Dhabi Entertainment Company
Executive suites 6
Capacity 43,620
60,000 (1980–2009)
63,578 (2019 AFC Asian Cup)
Surface Grass
Scoreboard Daktronics (3)
Broke ground 1974
Opened 1979
Renovated 2009
Construction cost AED 550 Million
Architect Henri Colboc, Pierre Dalidet, George Philippe
General contractor Consolidated Contractors Company
UAE national football team (1980–present)
1996 AFC Asian Cup
2003 FIFA World Youth Championship
2007 Gulf Cup of Nations
2009 FIFA Club World Cup
2010 FIFA Club World Cup
2019 AFC Asian Cup
UAE President's Cup Finals

Zayed Sports City Stadium (Arabic: ستاد مدينة زايد الرياضية‎), is an iconic multi-purpose stadium located in Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.[1]

It is the largest stadium in the UAE with more than 43,000 seats. It has developed a great history and heritage and has cemented its place in the country's history by being featured on the AED 200 banknote.

The stadium was opened in 1979[2] and has recently been renovated, with many of the facilities and amenities upgraded to ensure that it complies with international standards and can be used for a wide range of events.

The stadium hosted the 1996 AFC Asian Cup including the final, where the United Arab Emirates lost against Saudi Arabia in penalty shoot-outs. The stadium also hosted the 2007 Gulf Cup of Nations final between the United Arab Emirates and Oman. The semi finals and finals of 2009 and 2010 FIFA Club World Cup were also held at the stadium. The stadium will also be the hosting some the 2017 and 2018 FIFA Club World Cup[3] and 2019 AFC Asian Cup matches along five other stadiums.


  • History 1
    • Development 1.1
    • Renovations 1.2
    • Current Features 1.3
  • Events 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5



Guided by the belief of the President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in the role of sports toward youth and preparing them to perform their future role in building their country, directions were issued to the Town Planning Department in 1974 to build a comprehensive sports complex of high international standards in Abu Dhabi.

Zayed Sports City Stadium was the crux of the first project phase, and a 60,000 seat stadium was constructed. This phase also included perimeter fencing, utility services and an internal road network. It was completed in 1979 and the stadium was inaugurated in January 1980. The total cost of this phase was AED 550 million.
Model of a sports stadium in Abu Dhabi designed by Jörn-Peter Schmidt-Thomsen and Conrad Roland in the 1960s, which has never been realized.
The stadium included a gull size grass pitch surrounded facilities to host athletics competitions. An electronic boards and a sound system were installed as well as a modern electronic irrigation system. The building was designed to host international sporting events and provided media personnel with sufficient facilities to cover and broadcast tournaments via satellites.[4]

The external design of the stadium features iconic arches which are showcased in the venue’s logo as well as on the AED 200 banknote.


Throughout the years, the stadium has undergone significant renovations to ensure that it can accommodate the high-quality international events it was designed for. Hospitality areas, including the Royal Box interior and exterior, VIP seating and media seating were created throughout the years. Two scoreboards at either end zone were added in 2003. Renovations such as these have reduced the capacity to 43,791 public seats.

In preparation for the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup, Populous led renovations including brand new team locker rooms, way-finding updates, refurbishments to the public facilities, updates to the Royal Box and installation of a new pitch lighting system.

Current Features

The stadium is a traditional, open-air stadium that is defined on its exterior by iconic arches. Within the stadium is a full-size football pitch and a wide concrete apron surrounds it. There are 42,355 general entry seats on two levels plus 1,436 hospitality seats and 277 media seats. There is also a royal box with indoor and outdoor viewing areas and six media / hospitality sky boxes. On the concourses are concession kiosks, toilets and first aid facilities.

Back of house areas include space for media, hospitality, players, referees and storage. There are also several offices located in the stadium.

Three LED scoreboards are present in the venue as well as a sound system for spectators. The venue is fully lit to the standard required for HDTV broadcasts.

Surrounding the stadium is a pre-event plaza, then a series of fountains. Beyond this is the ring road, parking lots, training pitches and the rest of the Zayed Sports City facilities.[5]


Zayed Sports City Stadium has hosted hundreds of events, large and small, in its history. Some of these have left a mark on the history of not only the stadium, but also the on Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the GCC.

  • 1980– Friendship Football Tournament
  • 1981 – Asian Youth Cup
  • 1982 – 6th Gulf Cup of Nations
  • 1983 – Saudi v Kuwait Military Team Football Match
  • 1984 – Olympic Football Qualification Matches
  • 1984 – International Athletics Meet (included Italian National Team)
  • 1985 – Asian Youth Championship
  • 1986 – 2nd Asian Juniors Football Championship
  • 1988 – Asian Football Cup Qualification Matches
  • 1989 – American Rodeo Festival (on the occasion of UAE 18th National Day)
  • 1991 – Abu Dhabi Police Directorate Soccer Tournament
  • 1994 – 12th Gulf Cup of Nations
  • 1996 – 11th Asia Cup Football
  • 1998 – Arab Knight Festival Closing Ceremonies
  • 1999 – 14th FIQ World Bowling Championships Opening Ceremony
  • 2003 – FIFA Youth World Cup Championship
  • 2007 – Gulf Cup of Nations
  • 2008 – George Michael and Alicia Keys Concert
  • 2009 – FIFA Club World Cup
  • 2010 – FIFA Club World Cup
  • 2011 – UAE 40th National Day Official Ceremony[6]
  • 2013 – Monster Jam[7]
  • 2014 – Nitro Circus Live[8]
  • Military Cultural Festival 1981 - 1988
  • President's Cup Final 1980 – 2014

See also


  1. ^ Zayed Sports City Stadium
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links

  • Official website of Zayed Sports City
  • Zayed Sports City Stadium at Structurae
Events and tenants
Preceded by
Hiroshima Big Arch
AFC Asian Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium
Preceded by
Khalifa International Stadium
Gulf Cup of Nations
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex
Preceded by
International Stadium Yokohama
FIFA Club World Cup
Final Venue

2009, 2010
Succeeded by
International Stadium Yokohama
Preceded by
Stadium Australia
AFC Asian Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
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