Riyadh backs World Cup bid with $2.7bn of stadiums

22 May 2023
Projects include building new sporting facilities and upgrading existing ones over the coming five years


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Saudi Arabia’s Sport Ministry has said it is undertaking a SR10.1bn ($2.7bn) programme to build new sporting facilities and upgrade existing ones over the coming five years.

The projects will be a component of the joint bid that Saudi Arabia is making to host the Fifa 2030 World Cup alongside Egypt and Greece. 

Speaking at the Future Projects Forum in Riyadh on 22 May, the ministry said its capital projects programme would be split into four principal elements.

The largest of these, and the most immediate, is the scheme to upgrade and increase the capacity of five existing football stadiums in advance of the AFC Asian Cup, which the kingdom will host in 2027.

The projects are:

  • Increasing the capacity of King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh to 92,000 seats
  • Expanding the seating capacity of Riyadh’s Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium to 45,000
  • Increasing the capacity of Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Stadium to 30,000 seats
  • An increase in seating capacity for the Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium in Al-Khair to 45,000
  • The construction of a new, sustainable New Riyadh Stadium in the north of Riyadh with 45,000 seats

All five stadium projects are at the design stage, with construction due to start between October this year and February 2024.

READ MORE: Riyadh prepares to host global events

The next main element of the ministry’s projects programme is the construction of 30 new training grounds and facilities in proximity to the stadiums that will be used for the 2027 competition.

Construction on the schemes is expected to start in July 2024 and be completed by December 2025. A total of 18 facilities will be ready in time for the 2026 AFC Women’s Cup.

Other components of the programme include the building of 50 new model sports clubs in different cities in the kingdom, including Al-Kharj, Jizan, Tabuk, Dammam and Jeddah.

The new clubs will include indoor volleyball, football, handball and gym facilities as well as outdoor sports grounds. They will cover a plot area of 20,000-35,000 square metres (sq m) and have a minimum built-up area of 1,000 sq m.

READ MORE: Stadiums can be contractor busters
Other stadium projects

In July 2022, Jeddah Central Development Company (JCDC) signed design and engineering contracts for the stadium at the Jeddah Central project. The design contract was awarded to GMP International and the engineering contract was awarded to Khatib & Alami.

Saudi Arabia has planned stadium projects before. In 2014, Saudi Aramco was leading the development and construction of 11 stadiums. Those stadium plans, which were cancelled in 2015, covered projects in Medina, Al-Qassim, the Eastern Province, Asir, Tabuk, Hail, the Northern Borders, Jizan, Najran, Baha and Al-Jouf.

A major new stadium opened in the Jeddah area in 2014. UK-based Arup designed the 60,000-seat stadium at King Abdullah Sports City. The contractor was a joint venture led by Belgium’s Six Construct, which was awarded an estimated SR2bn ($533m) construction contract in 2011.

MEED's latest special report on Saudi Arabia includes:

> GIGAPROJECTS: Saudi Arabia under project pressure
> ECONOMY: Riyadh steps up the Vision 2030 tempo
> CONSTRUCTION: Saudi construction project ramp-up accelerates
> UPSTREAM: Aramco slated to escalate upstream spending
> DOWNSTREAM: Petchems ambitions define Saudi downstream
> POWER: Saudi Arabia reinvigorates power sector
> WATER: Saudi water begins next growth phase
> BANKING: Saudi banks bid to keep ahead of the pack
> DATABANK: Riyadh holds its buoyant economic heading

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