AFC Asian Cup 2019: A guide to the stadiums hosting Asia’s premier football event

The AFC Asian Cup 2019 kicks off in January, with as many as 51 matches set to be held in four different cities in the UAE. Eight venues located across Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain and Sharjah will play host to the continental competition. FOX Sports Asia looks at each of the venues in detail and analyses what they have to offer.

#1 Zayed Sports City Stadium

Location: Abu Dhabi

Founded: 1979

Capacity: 43000

Matches: 5 group stage games –  UAE vs Bahrain, Iraq vs Vietnam, India vs UAE, Oman vs Japan, Saudi Arabia vs Qatar, Round of 16, quarterfinal, final

The Zayed Sports City Stadium, with a capacity of 43000, is the home ground of the UAE men’s national team and also happens to be the largest stadium in the country.

Founded in 1979, the Zayed Sports City Stadium will be the venue of both the opening game of the tournament between UAE and Bahrain, as well as the final.

It has hosted a number of memorable events in the past, including the 1996 AFC Asian Cup final,  2007 Gulf Cup of Nations final, and the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup final.

#2 Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium

Location: Al Ain

Founded: 2014

Capacity: 25965

Matches: 5 group stage games – Australia vs Jordan, Qatar vs Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan vs South Korea, UAE vs Thailand, Vietnam vs Yemen, Round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal

The Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium was founded in 2014, meaning its the newest on this list. It also happens to be the most flamboyant, with state-of-the-art features.

The unique shape of the roof – it resembles a palm bowl – ensures pleasant conditions during matches.

Voted the 2014 Stadium of the Year, it also one of the venues being used for this year’s Club World Cup.

#3 Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium

Location: Abu Dhabi

Founded: 1979

Capacity: 42,056

Matches: 4 group stage games – Iran vs Yemen, Philippines vs China, Palestine vs Jordan, Oman vs Turkmenistan, Round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal

The Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium is the second largest on this list, with a capacity of 42056, and is named after General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

A multipurpose stadium, it has hosted several List A matches in cricket, as well as the 2009 and 2010 FIFA Club World Cups.

The home ground of local team Al Jazira, the stadium was renovated ahead of the 2010 Club World Cup, with a marked increase in capacity – from 15,000 to close to 43000.

#4 Rashid Stadium

Location: Dubai

Founded: 1948

Capacity: 15000

Matches: 4 group stage games – Saudi Arabia vs North Korea, Palestine vs Australia, Turkmenistan vs Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan vs the Philippines, Round of 16

Among the smaller venues used for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the Rashid Stadium was founded in 1948 and can seat up to 15000 people.

Generally used for football and rugby, it has hosted matches in the 2003 FIFA U-20 World Cup and 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the past.

#5 Al-Sharjah Stadium

Location: Sharjah

Capacity: 11073

Matches: 4 group stage games – Syria vs Palestine, Uzbekistan vs Oman, Yemen vs Iraq, India vs Bahrain, Lebanon vs North Korea, Round of 16

The smallest venue set to host a match at the AFC Asian Cup 2019, the Al-Sharjah Stadium is the home of Sharjah FC.

Often considered the ugly sister of the Sharjah Cricket Stadium famous for hosting many spectacular India-Pakistan encounters in the past, the Al-Sharjah Stadium too will interestingly enough witness an India match at the 2019 Asian Cup, with the Blue Tigers set to take Bahrain.

#6 Al-Maktoum Stadium

Location: Dubai

Founded: 1995

Capacity: 15000

Matches: 4 group stage games – South Korea vs the Philippines, Bahrain vs Thailand, Lebanon vs Saudi Arabia, Iran vs Iraq, Round of 16, quarterfinal

The Al-Maktoum Stadium has received a major upgrade ahead of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and is now one of the most swanky venues to host a match.

The capacity of the stadium has been increased from 12000 to 15000 and it is set to have cladding made out of translucent panels shaped like diamonds. These have the ability to change color – from white to turquoise, representing the colors of Al Nasr, who play their home games at the venue.

The stadium was also set to host a Michael Jackson concert which was cancelled after allegations levelled at the pop star.

#7 Al-Nahyan Stadium

Location: Abu Dhabi

Founded: 1995

Capacity: 12000

Matches: 4 group stage games – Thailand vs India, Japan vs Turkmenistan, Vietnam vs Iran, South Korea vs China, Round of 16

Built in 1995, the Al-Nahyan Stadium has a capacity of just 12000, making it one of the smallest venues to host the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

Renovations were conducted in 2006 to improve the infrastructure and technology of the stadium, however, it still remains one of the less popular stadiums in the country.

The Al-Nahyan Stadium has previously hosted a few matches during the group stages of the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship.

#8 Khalifa Bin Zayed International Stadium

Location: Al Ain

Founded: 1971

Capacity: 16000

Matches: 5 group stage games – China vs Kyrgyzstan, Jordan vs Syria, North Korea vs Qatar, Australia vs Syria, Japan vs Uzbekistan, Round of 16

Initially built in 1996 to seat just 12000 fans, the Khalifa Bin Zayed International Stadium was renovated and now holds up to 16000.

It serves as the home stadium of Al-Ain FC and has hosted many memorable events in the past, including the 1996 AFC Asian Cup and the 2003 FIFA Youth Championship.

With the development of the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, it has been relegated to the background, however, it will still host up to six matches in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.