Saudi Arabia make-a-splash soccer stadia move


Procurement process started for King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah Image: King Abdullah Sports City (Facebook)

Saudi Arabia has started the procurement process for football stadiums.

‘MEED’ stated that the Public Investment Fund (PIF) has invited consultants to bid for a contract to manage the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia). The contract will involve the operation and upgrade of the stadium. The Ministry of Sport has also started the process of tendering the stadium naming rights project.

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

Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)-based the Public Investment Fund (PIF) is the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. It is among the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world with total estimated assets of US$776 billion. It was created in 1971 for the purpose of investing funds on behalf of the Government of Saudi Arabia.

The 62,345-capacity King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, also nicknamed ‘The Shining Jewel’ or simply ‘The Jewel’, is a multiuse stadium and sports City located 30 kilometers North of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The 2034 FIFA World Cup™ will be the 25th edition of the quadrennial international football tournament. The tournament will be hosted by Saudi Arabia, which was the only country to submit a bid by FIFA’s October 31st, 2023 deadline.

The procurement adviser assisting the PIF on the stadium is the multinational professional services network Deloitte.

‘MEED’ further stated that 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 the UK-based design firm Arup.

Dubai (UAE)-based Six Construct is a Belgian (Belgium) construction company that operates in the Middle East. It is a subsidiary of the BESIX Group, a Belgian construction group that is a leader in civil engineering, building and marine works.

Al Karama, Dubai (UAE)-based Al Muhaidib Trading & Contracting is an Exclusive Seller of Benninger PPR and Distributor of German-made PP-RCT. The company has been setting the benchmark for reliable quality products in the UAE since 1994.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Group or simply Aramco, is a State-owned petroleum and natural gas company that is the national oil company of Saudi Arabia. As of 2022, it is the second-largest company in the world by revenue and is headquartered in Dhahran.

London (UK)-based Arup is a British multinational professional services firm that offers design, engineering, architecture, planning, and advisory services. They are dedicated to sustainable development and use imagination, technology and rigor to shape a better world.

The King Abdullah Sports City Stadium is the home ground of the Jeddah-based football team Al-Ittihad Saudi Club. The club has spent its entire history in the top-flight of football in Saudi Arabia, currently known as the Saudi Pro League. The club won its ninth Saudi championship in the 2022-2023 seasons.

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 the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema on a free transfer from the LaLiga team Real Madrid CF (Spain) in June.

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 program.
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 the five existing football stadiums. The projects are:

  • Increasing the capacity of the 67,000-capacity King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh to 92,000 seats;
  • Expanding the seating capacity of Riyadh’s 22,500-capacity Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium to 45,000;
  • Increasing the capacity of the 26,000-capacity Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Stadium in Dammam to 30,000 seats;
  • An increase in the seating capacity of the 11,000-capacity Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium in Khobar to 45,000; and
  • 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 (football governing body of Saudi Arabia) awarded an early works contract to the local Al Osais Contracting Company 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.

Other stadium projects in Saudi Arabia are also progressing. In July 2022, the 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.

Dammam (Saudi Arabia)-based he Al Osais Contracting Company is a General Contractor involved in the construction of commercial buildings, residential complexes and industrial buildings, which include site development, infrastructure and utilities, all types of construction, structural steel works, marine works, plant infrastructural civil works, and surveying and drafting services.

The Jeddah Central Development Company (JCDC) is a real estate company that focuses on property investment and urban development. The company is based in Jeddah, Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

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