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The Hazza bin Zayed Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium, located in the City of Al Ain, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It is the home stadium of Al Ain FC of the UAE Pro-League. The stadium holds 22,717 spectators and opened in 2014. The stadium was named after the chairman of the club, Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The 45,000 m2 (480,000 sq ft) Hazza bin Zayed stadium is split over seven levels and is one of the most modern sporting venues in the Middle East. It is one of the most sophisticated sports venues in the region.
The stadium was broke ground in April 2012 and was completed in December 2014. It was planned that Al-Ain faced Manchester City in the inaugural ceremony of the stadium, but City drew 1–1 with Blackburn Rovers in an English FA Cup match on 4 January and a replay with Rovers scheduled on 15 January prevented the English Premier League champions from a trip to the UAE. However the friendly was instead played after the Premier League season was over and Manchester City beat Al Ain 3–0. The stadium hosted the 2017 and 2018 FIFA Club World Cups, as well as the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
Location and design
The 25,000 seat stadium is located in Al Ain, approximately 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Abu Dhabi City, close to the borders of Oman. It was designed and built under a contract for a multi-functional stadium in the United Arab Emirates.
The client was represented by AAFAQ Holdings. The project was realized in close cooperation with sister companies BAM Sports, specialized in stadium construction, and BAM Contractors from Ireland. The scope of work included the construction of a multi-functional stadium with a gross floor area of 45,000 square meters. In addition, BAM built a six-story office building, a sports hall, and external works comprising roads, car parking, playing fields, and landscaping. The stadium architects were London-based Pattern Design.
One of the most characteristic elements of the stadium is the external facade which consists of fabric elements resembling the trunk of a palm tree that also can be lighted by LED lights in 15 different content modes. On the top of the stadium roof, 200 floodlights are fixed to provide the illumination of after-dark soccer games. Due to the extreme temperatures during the hot summer months, the palm bowl shape of the roof also provides pleasant conditions for both the players and the fans. It is one of the stadium’s unique features, which is designed in a way that matches can take place in the shadow after 5 pm. On the inside, it reveals the complex geometry of its cantilevered steel trusses, which was achieved by using robotic cutting and welding technology. The stadium is the first stadium in the world to featuring a unique parasol roof designed specifically to fully shade all fans.
Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium was voted Stadium of the Year 2014.
History and facilities
The stadium has been completed after a 16-month ultra-fast track construction project after being started on 1 June 2012. Built to FIFA standards, the stadium covers an area of 45,000 m2 (480,000 sq ft) with a capacity of 25,000 seats. The scope of the project further included a sports hall, commercial buildings, and extensive exterior landscaping. The stadium is an integral part of a new, wider community. It was planned to become the centerpiece of a 500,000 m2 (5,400,000 sq ft) development that will include a 175-room hotel, a community of 700 residential units in a complex of 700 apartments and green spaces, two office buildings, a sports center, retail outlets, and 50 restaurants. The hotel, Aloft Al Ain, was completed in 2017.
The project is the first component of this broader development that would have its effect first on the city of Al Ain, but also on the wider region, including the neighboring countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It was a design and build contract. BAM introduced a lot of value engineering proposals that had to be integrated into the design and therefore new building permits were required within the 18 months. BAM International started the project in mid-2012 and remained right on schedule with all aspects of the construction, making use of 10.5 million man-hours. At peak, there were 400 men staff up to the supervisor level, and 4500 laborers on site.
There are a number of routes to get to Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium. The stadium is 15 minutes from Al Ain Airport.
Route A: From Abu Dhabi City:
- On leaving the suburbs of Al Ain, pass through the Al Yahar area, and take the exit that leads to the Al Salamat area.
- Cross straight through Al Salamat roundabout, and continue through the area of Al Bateen to EXTRA Mall.
- Cross straight across over a number of roundabouts until you reach the Al Tawia Garden roundabout.
- Cross straight over the Al Tawia Garden roundabout and the Stadium will be on your left.
Route B: From Abu Dhabi:
- Pass through the Al Maqam area and cross the Tawam Roundabout to (Al Daiwan Roundabout No 178).
- Straight across the roundabout and the entrance to the stadium in on the right.
Route C: From Dubai:
- Drive to Al Ain city through Dubai – Al Ain road.
- Pass through the Al-Hayer area and continue on the highway until you reach Al Ain Dairy Farms which will be on the right.
- Turn left at the next exit and continue straight on and follow the signs to UAE University and Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium.
- At the roundabout take left and cross straight on and the entrance to the stadium will be on the right.
Route D: From Fujairah:
- Take Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Road (Emirates Road) and join the Dubai–Al Ain Road.
- Pass through the Al Hayer area and continue on the highway until you reach Al Ain Dairy Farms which will be on the right.
- Turn left at the next exit and continues straight on and follows the signs to UAE University and Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium