West Asia

Syrian Stadium holds a friendly match for the first time in three years

The main stadium in the city of Idlib had been closed for three years due to ongoing war in Syria.

The friendly game was between Idlib University FC and the White Helmets football team, the game was organized to celebrate the reopening of the stadium.

The Directorate of Sports and Youth in the city of Idlib hand-to-hand with the White Helmets and students from the University of Idlib worked together to clean the stadium and remove the rubble from the pitch and to accomplish the cleaning operations till the field was good enough to hold the game.

“This is a great stadium for me,” said 27-year-old Maher Ziwani, who used to play in the place before the war broke out. “I was saddened by the destruction and vandalism caused by the fighting in it’s surroundings.”

“After we played today, I felt happy despite the devastation that had been caused,” he said.

The head of the Directorate, Taher Hamidi, said: “We worked with the Civil Defense forces to rehabilitate the stadium and its facilities and now it is ready to hold all sporting events and activities.”

The stadium is to host a mini-tournament involving six local teams.

Asaad al-Assaad, 20 years old, and his teammates attended the game to cheer for the team of Idlib University where he is studying.

“In the game and the opening it was a nice feeling, this stadium is considered the football fortress in the whole of Idlib city, and reopening it means the continuation of sport and life despite all the war and the bombing on us,” he said in a press statement to the French media.