Saudi King orders construction of 11 new stadia
King Abdullah Football Stadium and Sports City to be the templates for the new sports complexes
Saudi Arabia has announced plans to build 11 new stadia – three more than Qatar is constructing for the football World Cup. Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, on Saturday (June 21, 2014) ordered the construction of the stadia to be of ‘highest international standards’, each with a capacity of 45,000 spectators.
The new stadia will come up in the provinces of Madinah, Qassim, Eastern Province, Asir, Tabuk, Hail, Northern Border Province, Jazan, Najran, Baha and Al Jouf.
The announcement comes just six weeks after the opening of the state-of-the-art King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on May 1. Built on an area of three million square metres, the Sports City is also home to the 60,000-capacity King Abdullah Football Stadium, which comfortably meets the FIFA standards.
One of the most distinguishing features of this stadium is that it does not include an athletics track, which puts the spectators at the heart of the event and makes it more enjoyable to them. King Abdullah Football Stadium and Sports City will be used as a template by which the new stadia will be built.
Prince Nawaf bin Faisal, the head of the Youth Welfare Presidency, thanked the King on the decision to build new stadia, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Governors of the 11 provinces as well as prominent personalities have applauded the royal decision. “The sports circle in the Kingdom has received this news with great happiness,” said Prince Talal bin Mansour, a honorary member of Al Ittihad Club.
Abdul Aziz Abdul Aal, former president of Al Ahli Club, commended King Abdullah for his tremendous support to sports and youth welfare projects. “The new stadium will help Saudi players perform well at regional and international sports events,” he said.
The kingdom already has 23 stadiums, according to the Saudi Gazette. King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh has one of the largest stadium roofs in the world and was a venue for the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1989, including the final.