Second half excitement for Saudi stadiums

08 July 2015

Progress has been disappointing in the first half of the year

“A game of two halves” is a classic football commentators’ cliché that might also describe the progress of the 11 sports stadiums planned by Saudi Aramco in 2015.

After moving forward at breakneck speed in late 2014, confidence in the project started to wane in the New Year as the kingdom started to digest the implications of an oil price that at the time had fallen by more than 50 per cent.

Then in late January sentiment was rocked further by the death of the programme’s key patron King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. Negotiations rumbled on with contractors during the first quarter, but since then there has been little progress. To use another footballing analogy, the first half of the year ended as a boring goalless draw.

The second half of the year could be far more exciting as Saudi Aramco presents two options for the programme to the High Economic Council. The options are to either deliver all 11 stadiums at once or build them in three stages.

After months in the dark, either of these two options will be welcome news for the consultants that are already working on the project and the contractors that are bidding for the construction work.

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