This is the right time to push for the remaining sporting venues within Dubai Sports City

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Dubai Sports City

With less than four years left for the Asian Cup 2019, this is the time and the chance for Dubai Sports City (DSC) to complete its sporting venues before it is too late.

Ever since its ambitious launch in 2004, DSC has seen many ups and downs. A joint venture between Max Boegl (Germany) and Arabtec, the $4bn project was developed by partners Abdul Rahim Al Zarooni, Abdulrahman Bukhatir and Abdulrahman Falaknaz as the world’s first integrated purpose-built sports city with its multi-venue sports complex as the main highlight supported by additional residential, retail, leisure and recreation facilities.

To date only the outdoor 25,000-capacity Dubai International Cricket Stadium has been built. A proposed football stadium and another one for rugby complete the three-stadium vision in the masterplan. While the cricket stadium opened in 2009 with much fanfare, there’s been not much progress on the other two venues.

The 2008 global financial crisis hit the project and the construction area was closed briefly in 2010. Since then, DSC has re-strategized its plan and currently the focus is more on residential and commercial projects with the stadiums taking the back seat.

Announcing that DSC is set for a major retail expansion, its Chief Financial Officer Vijay Sajjanhar told the media in August last year that “the current focus is firmly on developing the retail side now that the measures put in place to ensure delivery of residential plots in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis have worked.”

Football stadium – this is the time

With things appearing to be back on track and Dubai winning the bid for Asian Cup 2019, DSC is poised well to start work on football stadium. While it is believed that the stadium is being considered as the new proposed 60,000-seater for the Asian Cup 2019, a final decision on it is yet to be made.

According to media reports in July this year, DSC is in talks with financiers about funding for the proposed stadium. “The company is actively looking at it at this point of time. We have to do it and we will do it,” Sajjanhar said. “We are looking at actively closing down on the finance for this. And as the financial closure happens, we are going to go ahead,” he added, without giving details of a timeframe.

It would be interesting to see if a final decision on the remaining sporting venues is taken soon.

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