AFC show host Saudi Arabia plans big on venues


Saudi Arabia 2 stadium renovations unveiled King Fahd International Stadium and Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium Image: Saudi Projects

Saudi Arabia has won a bid to host the 2027 Asian Cup, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on February 1st.

‘Saudi Projects’ stated that meanwhile, the designs of the King Fahd International Stadium and the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium in Riyadh have been officially unveiled as part of Saudi Arabia hosting the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.

‘Barron’s’ stated that the above announcement (2027 Asian Cup) was made at the AFC Congress in the Bahraini capital of Manama.

The 2027 AFC Asian Cup will be the 19th edition of the AFC Asian Cup, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Asia organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The tournament will involve 24 national teams after the expansion in 2019. Saudi Arabia will host the soccer showcase.

Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of association football, beach football and futsal in some countries/territories in Asia and Oceania. It has 47 member-countries most of which are located in Asia. Australia, formerly in the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), joined the AFC in 2006.

‘Barron’s’ further stated that Saudi Arabia was the sole bidder after India withdrew in December 2022.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the Kingdom’s Sports Minister, said after the announcement, “We are excited to deliver the greatest tournament in the competition’s history. The Kingdom is transforming before our eyes and we are filled with excitement for what it will look like in 2027.”

The world’s biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, has thrown hundreds of millions at sports deals including the acquisition of soccer giant Cristiano Ronaldo, Formula One in Jeddah and the lucrative LIV Golf tour.

In the coming years the Saudis, who watched as neighbors Qatar hosting the World Cup in November and December 2022, will hold the women’s Asian Cup, the Olympic-sized Asian Games and even the Asian Winter Games on artificial snow.

The desert Kingdom is also eying a World Cup and Summer Olympics, perhaps even a Winter Olympics, together with a swathe of other major events.

It is all part of grand plans by the de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to modernize the Saudi economy and end its reliance on oil before the world moves on to other fuels.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said at the Manama congress, “I’m sure Saudi Arabia will host a fantastic Asian Cup.”

The 2023 Asian Cup will be hosted by Qatar. It was previously set to be held in China but the country withdrew because of COVID menace still on in the. The Asian Cup is staged every four years. Qatar won the tournament’s last edition in 2019, which was hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Saudi Arabia has won three AFC Asian Cup titles.

Saudi Arabia Venue Plans

The 68,752-capacity King Fahd International Stadium, also nicknamed ‘Pearl of Stadiums’ or simply ‘the Pearl’, is a multipurpose stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is currently used mostly for football matches as the home of Saudi Arabia, and it also has athletics facilities. The arena is set for major upgrades as part of Saudi Arabia hosting the 2027 AFC soccer extravaganza.

The Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium is a multipurpose stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, designed by architect Michael KC Cheah. It is currently used mostly for football matches. Named after Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the stadium has a capacity of 22,500 people. The Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Stadium will also witness renovations which will include an addition of seats to accommodate larger crowds as part of the 2027 AFC Asian Cup to be hosted by Saudi Arabia.

‘ALARABIYA news’ stated that Saudi Arabia has revealed plans to renovate existing stadiums and build new ones for the Asian Cup 2027 as the football scene in the Kingdom booms.

The new stadiums will be in three of the Kingdom’s Cities: Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

‘ALARABIYA news’ further stated that the plan, according to Saudi 2027, revealed the design of the Riyadh Stadium, a new stadium that will be built for the Asian Cup and that can be reached easily by Metro. The stadium will have a capacity to host 22,500 spectators.

Another new stadium is the Qiddiya Stadium that Saudi 2027 said “will be one of the masterpieces that Saudi will provide to Asia”.

The stadium will have the capacity to host 40,000 spectators.

The Asian Cup games will also be held at the existing Riyadh’s King Fahd International Stadium.

However, the stadium will be remodeled, according to the plan, where more seats will be added to fit 80,000 spectators, a track will be removed and more facilities will be added.

As mentioned above, the Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Stadium will also witness renovations which will include an addition of seats to accommodate larger crowds. The stadium will be able to fit up to 44,500 fans and will also be reached easily by Metro. As for Riyadh’s Mrsool Park, it will host 25,000 fans.

Saudi Arabia’s Dammam will have its share of the game where work on the new Dammam Stadium will begin soon. The stadium is designed to offer spectators a one-of-a-kind-experience where 40,000 football lovers can watch and enjoy the games.

Dammam’s Prince Saud bin Jalawi Sports City and the Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Stadium will have the capacity to host 22,000 and 30,000 fans, respectively.

The Red Sea City of Jeddah will host the games in two of its stadiums: The King Abdullah Sport City Stadium and the Prince Abdullah al-Faisal stadium that have capacities of 59,000 and 27,000, respectively.

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