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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Saudi Arabia Unveils 2034 World Cup Clifftop Stadium Design

Saudi Arabia has revealed plans for a cutting-edge stadium situated on a 200-meter cliff near Riyadh, where the nation intends to host matches during the 2034 World Cup. Named Prince Mohammed bin Salman Stadium in honor of the crown prince, this 45,000-seat facility aims to position the oil-rich kingdom as a prominent figure in global sports within the next decade. The design features a retractable roof and field, along with an LED wall spanning hundreds of meters, providing fans with an immersive experience, according to a statement from the Qiddiya Investment Company. The QIC described the venue as a futuristic initiative seeking to revolutionize the conventional stadium concept.

The stadium serves as a focal point for the Qiddiya City project, which endeavors to establish a 45km (30 miles) entertainment, gaming, and sports hub near downtown Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. As part of its innovative design, the LED wall is crafted to unveil captivating views of the city below, as stated by the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC).

The QIC, fully owned by the Public Investment Fund under the chairmanship of the crown prince, manages approximately $700 billion in Saudi sovereign wealth, with investments extending to projects like the LIV Golf initiative and the English Premier League club Newcastle.

Also Read: Saudi Crown Prince Shocks the World, Threatens Massive Economic Blow to U.S. in Explosive Oil Feud

Designed to be the home venue for Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal, Riyadh clubs that secured Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar last year, respectively, the new stadium aims to be a key component in Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the men’s World Cup in 2034. With FIFA expected to confirm the host nation later this year, the bid necessitates 14 stadiums for the 48-team tournament, and the futuristic city of Neom is also likely to play a role in the World Cup project.

While concerns about the environmental impact of massive construction projects in Saudi Arabia persist, the Qiddiya stadium plans include the creation of a lake beneath it. The QIC specified that this lake will utilize rainwater captured from the stadium and its surroundings to precool the air conditioning system.

However, questions arise regarding Saudi Arabia’s adherence to FIFA’s guidelines on human rights, aligned with the United Nations’ guiding principles on business and human rights. Potential concerns about one World Cup venue underscore the importance of FIFA ensuring that any assurances regarding workers’ rights extend beyond superficial commitments.

Saudi officials, currently preparing to host the 2027 Asian Cup, have expressed their intention to host all 104 games of the 2034 World Cup within the kingdom’s borders. Despite this ambition, neighboring and nearby states may still be considered to collaborate on the project.

In 2026, the United States, Canada, and Mexico are set to co-host the first 48-team edition of the World Cup. For the 2030 tournament, six countries from three continents have formed a joint bid, making it FIFA’s exclusive candidate. Spain and Portugal initially included Morocco in their bid, and later, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay were unexpected additions in October. Notably, the South American nations are slated to host only one game each in this collaborative effort.

The architectural design for the new Saudi stadium project is attributed to Populous, a firm with a notable portfolio including Olympic stadiums in Australia and Russia, as well as the design of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, tailored for both NFL games and football matches.

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