Erbil is the capital city of Kurdistan Iraq Region. It’s also home to the Erbil International Stadium which hosts both national and club level football. Here are a few reasons to visit Franso Hariri Stadium;
- Kurdistan International Stadium
- Watch an Iraqi Premier League Match
- Stadium is an Old Airfield
- See the Franso Hariri Statue
- Watch Peshmerga Soldiers Guard the Stadium
The stadium is a short walk from the Erbil city center therefore any Erbil hotel should be close by.
How to Enter Erbil International Stadium
Firstly, Peshmerga soldiers guard the stadium entrance therefore you must ask them for permission to enter. They may search your bag and ask you where you’re from but they should let you pass. Additionally, there are a few more groups of soldiers you must pass but if you pass the first set, use the same method to pass the second and third group. It’s just an empty football stadium after all!
Erbil International Stadium Facts
It’s officially called the Franso Hariri Stadium after a politician who was assassinated in 2001. Franso Hariri Stadium has a capacity of 20,000 spectators. Security is tight and Peshmerga soldiers perform strict body searches at the entrance. Erbil SC play their home games here in the Iraqi Premier League. Additionally, the Iraq national team have also played here. It’s also a multi purpose stadium and can host athletics events. In effect, it’s the Kurdistan version to the London Stadium or Stade de France. Finally, the stadium is built on an old airfield. Did you know you can visit the Hitlers old airfield in Berlin, Germany?
You’re free to walk around the stadium as you wish. Moreover, you can take a little stroll into the players tunnel. Exciting as this may be, the building with the players dressing rooms is always locked.
You’re welcome to sit and take a rest in the Iraqi Premier League players area. As a matter of fact, you could sit here for a while and even enjoy a sandwich.
Normally when you visit a football stadium it’s strictly forbidden to walk on the grass. However, I saw several soldiers strolling across the pitch. I even saw a couple of soldiers sit down and enjoy a picnic. I’m not sure how they’d react if you started walking over the grass through, best not disturb them.
Erbil SC or Erbil Sports Club play their home games at Franso Hariri Stadium. There is a special VIP section of the stadium. You can stroll up and take a walk around if you wish. Did you know Erbil SC have won the Iraqi Premier League 4 times and regularly participate in the Asian Champions League?
Erbil Sports Club Team Bus
Imagine the excitement on matchday when the Erbil Sports Club team bus arrives. This is a chance for fans to meet and greet the Iraqi Premier League players. Lastly, for me the best team bus I’ve seen is the classic blue double decker of Millwall FC.
Franso Hariri Statue
The official name of Erbil International Stadium is in fact the Franso Hariri Stadium. This gives you a clue as to who is the huge statue overlooking the stands. Franso Hariri was a high ranking official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iraq. Without getting into politics, he was assassinated in 2001. During his period he contributed much to the city of Erbil. The stadium honors Franso Hariri as he contributed a lot of attention to sports, health and education in the city.
Stadium with a View
So, the main external view from Erbil International Stadium is a French Carrefour supermarket! At least you know where to park your car as well as buy your groceries afterwards. Lastly, something else on display are the Kurdistan flags.
Enjoy your Personal Erbil International Stadium Tour
A little tip here, it’s likely that the main entrance is locked. However, this is actually not the entrance. You enter the stadium at this exact location which is usually guarded by soldiers. Enjoy this peaceful stadium tour and it’s highly likely you’ll have the whole stadium to yourself. Alternatively, check the Iraqi Premier League fixture list and experience a live game!
Enjoy this stadium tour? Why not visit the brand new Diyarbakir Stadium in the capital city of Turkish Kurdistan.