Saudi Arabia kicks off football stadium procurement

07 November 2023
Saudi Arabia was confirmed as the sole bidder for the 2034 World Cup at the end of October

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has invited firms to bid by mid-November for a contract to provide project and asset management services for the operation and upgrade of its King Abdullah Sports City Stadium on the outskirts of Jeddah.

This is the first stadium project in the kingdom to move into procurement after Saudi Arabia was confirmed on 31 October as the sole bidder for the 2034 Fifa World Cup.

READ MORE: World Cup 2034 shows Saudi goals can be achieved

The procurement adviser assisting the PIF on the stadium is Deloitte.

The 62,000-seater King Abdullah Sports City Stadium was built by a joint venture (JV) of Belgium’s Six Construct and the local Al-Muhaidib Trading & Contracting. The JV was awarded the estimated SR2bn ($533m) contract in 2011. Saudi Aramco developed the stadium on behalf of the government. It was designed by UK-based Arup.

King Abdullah Sports City Stadium is the home ground of Jeddah-based football team Al-Ittihad Saudi Club. It won its ninth Saudi championship in the 2022-23 season.

The PIF invested in the club, and in three other teams, in June this year. Following the PIF investment, gigaproject developer Roshn announced a three-year sponsorship deal with the Al-Ittihad team. The club also signed 2022 Ballon D'Or winner Karim Benzema on a free transfer from Spanish team Real Madrid in June. 

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia's football vision goes global

Saudi Arabia is building and upgrading stadiums as part of plans to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup. In June, Saudi Arabia’s Sports Ministry invited construction companies to submit prequalification documents for contracts to build sports stadiums as part of its SR10.1bn capital projects programme.

The projects are split into four principal elements. The largest of these, and the most immediate, is the construction of a new stadium to the north of Riyadh and the upgrade of five existing football stadiums. 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 the seating capacity of 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

In October, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation awarded an early works contract to the local Al-Osais Contracting for the construction of its new football stadium in Dammam

The scope of work includes site preparation, enabling works and basic infrastructure works. 

The stadium will have the capacity to accommodate 40,000 spectators. It will include hospitality areas, lodges and skyboxes, which will be located on the west side of the facility.

The new stadium will be built in the Dammam Sports City area, where the facilities of the Al-Ettifaq Football and Al-Nahda Club teams are based.

Other stadium projects in Saudi Arabia are also progressing. In July 2022, Jeddah Central Development Company 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.

A stadium built 300 metres above the ground between the two buildings that form part of The Line at Neom is also planned.

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