11 new stadiums in 2 years

Saudi Aramco will begin building 11 new state-of-the-art stadiums in January, the oil giant announced on Tuesday.

Saudi Aramco will begin building 11 new state-of-the-art stadiums in January, the oil giant announced on Tuesday.

It will present on Wednesday bidding conditions for local and international companies to qualify for the project, ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

The new stadiums will be implemented in much the same way the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah was built, an official statement said. Saudi Aramco sources said the 11 stadiums would be completed within two years and no later than 2017.

Aramco has given a chance for local contracting companies to compete with their international counterparts in winning the projects.

However, Aramco rejected participation of Saudi consulting firms to design the stadiums, as the designing work was given to international consultants.

Most governorates of the 11 regions — Madinah, Eastern Province, Northern Border Province, Hail, Tabuk, Al-Jouf, Baha, Najran, Jazan, Asir and Qassim — have not yet handed over plots to Aramco for building the stadiums, one source said, adding that it would delay implementation of the projects.

Dammam Mayor Fahd Al-Jubeir said his organization has allocated two million sqm of land south
of Dhahran Airbase to build the stadium.

King Abdullah has authorized Saudi Aramco to build the 11 stadiums, each with a capacity to accommodate 45,000 spectators. Aramco has won the king’s confidence after it successfully carried out a number of vital projects, including the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal and the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

The Saudi Council of Engineers protested Aramco’s move to contract foreign consulting houses to design the stadiums by ignoring local consulting firms. “Saudi architects should have a role in building their country’s stadiums,” said Hamad Al-Shaqawi, president of the organization.

“At least 200 Saudi engineers should benefit from these projects,” Al-Shaqawi said in comments published by Al-Eqtisadiah business daily. He also commended the designing capability of Saudi architects.

King Abdullah opened the sports city in Jeddah, which is an impressive landmark on the Jeddah-Madinah Expressway, on May 1. The opening ceremony witnessed the finale of King’s Cup football tournament.

Located about 50 km from Jeddah, King Abdullah Sports City boasts the latest in large-venue technology.


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