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Saudi Arabia has revealed plans for a brand new clifftop stadium as preparations for the nation to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup continue to build. The unveiling of the new plans comes in light of the development of another new Saudi stadium in Dammam.
The new clifftop stadium will be situated 40 minutes from Riyadh in the newly-built Quiddiya City and will sit 200 metres above sea level. The stadium is set to be named the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Stadium in honour of the crown prince and it will hold 45,000 seats.
It will be the third-biggest stadium in Saudi Arabia once completed behind the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah (62,345) and the King Fahd Sports City Stadium in Riyadh (58,000).
Spectators will be “at the heart” of the project
Concept art and design plans have been released which show there will be a retractable roof and field at the stadium to allow it to be used for more than just football with concerts, boxing events and esports also planned for the new state-of-the-art stadium. There will also be an LED wall fitted around the stadium to provide fans with an “immersive” experience.
The stadium is being designed and built by the Quiddiya Investment Company (QIC). Upon releasing the plans, the QIC's Managing Director Abdullah bin Nasser Aldawood said that the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Stadium will be a “futuristic venue”. He added:
“Our ambition is for Qiddiya City to become a global destination for entertainment, sports and culture and this iconic new stadium will be at its very heart. The futuristic venue aims to reinvent the traditional stadium concept and embody the true spirit of Qiddiya’s Power of Play philosophy.”
“It uses state-of-the-art technology and innovative, world-leading design to put the spectator at the centre of the experience,” explained Aldawood.
The purpose of the new Saudi Arabia stadium
First and foremost, the new stadium will become the home ground of two Saudi Pro League clubs – Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr. It means that Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar could both play their football at the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Stadium should they remain at their respective clubs in time for the project to be completed.
Aside from that, the stadium could also host World Cup football in 2034. Saudi Arabia are the only nation to have lodged a bid to host the tournament in ten years time and their announcement as the hosts is now a foregone conclusion. Surrounding nations are hoping to piggyback on to the bid but the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believe they have the capacity to host all 104 matches themselves.
Regardless of whether they host alone or as part of a joint-bid, the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Stadium will almost certainly play a big role. The venue is being built with all climates and weather conditions in mind to ensure it can be used all-year round.
Energy consumption at the stadium will also be reduced thanks to an eco-cooling lake that will be built underneath the stadium. The idea here is that the lake will will use rainwater from the surrounding area to pre-cool the stadium's air conditioning system.
Plenty of bold claims have been made in the announcement of the new stadium with the QIC estimating that there will be 1.8m annual visits to the stadium which equates to 40 events at full capacity.