Saudi to begin eleven stadium projects in January
Anger at decision to deny local consultants bidding opportunities
Saudi Aramco has announced that a programme to build eleven 45,000-capacity stadiums across Saudi Arabia will begin in January 2015.
In June, King Abdullah ordered the oil company to carry out the projects after it had successfully delivered the 60,000-seater King Abdullah Football Stadium and Sports City.
Saudi Aramco sources said the 11 stadiums, which are to be built in a similar fashion to King Abdullah Football Stadium, would be completed within two years and no later than 2017.
Aramco is expected to release details of bidding conditions for local and international companies to qualify for the project today (Wednesday 6 August).
However, Saudi consulting firms will not be involved in the design of the stadiums as Aramco has decided to exclusively employ international consultants.
The decision has attracted criticism from The Saudi Council of Engineers which said that local consultants were more than capable of delivering the designs required.
“Saudi architects should have a role in building their country’s stadiums,” Hamad Al-Shaqawi, president of the organisation, told Al-Eqtisadiah business daily.
“At least 200 Saudi engineers should benefit from these projects,” he added.
Eleven of Saudi Arabia’s 13 regions will benefit from the projects including Madinah, Eastern Province, Northern Border Province, Hail, Tabuk, Al-Jouf, Baha, Najran, Jazan, Asir and Qassim.
The governorates of these regions 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 organisation has allocated two million m² of land south of Dhahran Airbase to build the Eastern Province stadium.