Zayed Sports City Stadium

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

Zayed Sports City Stadium
Zayed Sports City Stadium logo.jpg
Abu Dhabi Zayed Sports City Stadium 2.jpg
Former namesSheikh Zayed Stadium
LocationSaif Ghobash Street, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Coordinates24°24′58″N 54°27′13″E / 24.41611°N 54.45361°E / 24.41611; 54.45361Coordinates: 24°24′58″N 54°27′13″E / 24.41611°N 54.45361°E / 24.41611; 54.45361
OwnerMubadala Development Company
OperatorAbu Dhabi Entertainment Company
Executive suites6
ScoreboardDaktronics (3)
Broke ground1974
OpenedJanuary 1980
Construction costAED 550 Million
ArchitectHenri Colboc, Pierre Dalidet, George Philippe
General contractorConsolidated Contractors Company
UAE national football team (1980–present)

The largest stadium in the UAE with 45,000 seats,[1] it has iconic status and was featured on the AED 200 banknote.

The stadium was opened in 1979[2] and was renovated in 2009, 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 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship and the 18th Arabian Gulf Cup. The semifinals and finals of 2009 and 2010 FIFA Club World Cups were also held at the stadium. The stadium again hosted the Club World Cup in 2017 and 2018.[3] It also held the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. It staged the opening and final matches.



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.

Initiated by then-UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan's desire, 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. The stadium included full size grass pitch surrounded facilities to host athletics competitions. An electronic board 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.


The stadium during 18th Arabian Gulf Cup in 2007

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, architecture firm Populous led renovation works at the stadium, including brand new team locker rooms, wayfinding updates, refurbishments to the public facilities, updates to the Royal Box and installation of a new pitch lighting system. London-based company ISG was the construction contractor for the project.

Current featuresEdit

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]

2019 AFC Asian CupEdit

Zayed Sports City Stadium hosted eight games of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, including the opening match, and a Round of 16 and quarter-final match, as well as the final.

Date Time Team No. 1 Res. Team No. 2 Round Attendance
5 January 2019 20:00   United Arab Emirates 1–1   Bahrain Group A 33,878
8 January 2019 17:30   Iraq 3–2   Vietnam Group D 4,779
10 January 2019 20:00   India 0–2   United Arab Emirates Group A 43,206
13 January 2019 17:30   Oman 0–1   Japan Group F 12,110
17 January 2019 20:00   Saudi Arabia 0–2   Qatar Group E 16,067
21 January 2019 21:00   United Arab Emirates 3–2 (aet)   Kyrgyzstan Round of 16 17,784
25 January 2019 17:00   South Korea 0–1   Qatar Quarter-finals 13,791
1 February 2019 18:00   Japan 1–3   Qatar Final 36,776


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 on Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the GCC.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "2019 AFC Asian Cup Welcome Guide". Asian Football Confederation. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  2. ^ "#360business: Zayed Sports City integral in UAE sporting development". Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  3. ^ "UAE to host Fifa Club World Cup in 2017 and 2018 | The National". Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  4. ^ Zayed Sports City. Abu Dhabi, UAE: Zayed Sports City. 2000.
  5. ^ Events and Corporate Functions. Abu Dhabi, UAE: Zayed Sports City. 2015.
  6. ^ "ZSC Events Brochure" (PDF).
  7. ^ "THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF MONSTER JAM - Inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour Stop Kicks off 2013 Monster Jam International Schedule". Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  8. ^ "Nitro Circus Live show offers extreme action in Abu Dhabi". Retrieved 2015-10-18.

External linksEdit

Events and tenants
Preceded by AFC Asian Cup
Final venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by FIFA World Youth Championship
Final venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by Arabian Gulf Cup
Final venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by FIFA Club World Cup
Final venue

2009, 2010, 2017, 2018
Succeeded by
International Stadium Yokohama
Preceded by AFC Asian Cup
Opening venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by AFC Asian Cup
Final venue

Succeeded by
Workers' Stadium