Al-Faisal stadium is approaching readiness
Maintenance and restoration operations have reached the “front” stage.
Sunday – 4 Shawwal 1442 AH – 16 May 2021 AD Issue No. [
Part of the facade installation at Al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah (Photo: Muhammad Al-Manea)
Riyadh: Fahad Al-Issa
The restoration stages became final after the installation of the façade of the stadium, which will return to life again after a long absence, specifically since 2009, which is the date of the beginning of the restoration work that stumbled more than once before developing the final image on which it began in its final form.
Prince Abdulaziz Al-Faisal, Minister of Sports, visited the stadium in mid-April to see the maintenance work in its final stage, explaining at the time his wish to open the stadium in its new look in a mass derby that brings together the two rivals Al-Ittihad and Al-Ahly, with the return of the historical icon of the sports scene at the beginning of the season Next. Al-Faisal said: “I know that matches at the beginning of the season are not usually popular, and it is possible to organize a simplified opening at the beginning of the season, and there will be a big opening during a mass match.”
It is noteworthy that the maintenance work and the change in the stadium’s internal facilities witnessed the change of the soil of the stadium and its cultivation completely with the latest methods and international standards adopted, and the capacity of the stadium seats was increased, to accommodate 27,000 seats, including the royal cabin, with 72 seats allocated for people of determination, in addition to improvements. The engineering floor that spans the royal podium, containing 3 complete floors with all its facilities.
Two media centers were established, each with a capacity of 50 people, and a press conference room with a capacity of 250 people at the same moment, equipped with the latest technology, as well as the establishment of a special area for press interviews (Mix Zone), and two areas for television interviews (Flash Interview) ), 4 analytical studios, and 6 commentator rooms.
The modifications also included the construction of dressing rooms for players, with 4 rooms, in addition to the establishment of a new room for the rulers of “VAR” technology, in addition to equipping the stadium with 48 cabins for cameras, each cabin with a capacity of 6 cameras, as well as the establishment of medical clinics and rooms dedicated to the detection of doping. The maintenance and development work also included the installation of 81 electronic gates distributed at the entrances to the stadium, in addition to parking lots outside the stadium, with an area of 122 thousand square meters, which contributes to serving the fans and facilitating their access to the stadium during matches.
Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium is one of the oldest stadiums in Saudi Arabia, and it is located in the west of the country, specifically in Jeddah, which is 70 km away from the holy city of Makkah.
The construction of the stadium came half a century ago, and at that time it was called “Youth Welfare Stadium”, and it was supervised by Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who was Director of Youth Welfare at that time. The stadium hosted a large number of large and important tournaments and international matches, including, for example, Youth World Cup Finals.
The stadium had a capacity of 22 thousand people when it was built, and its stands were concrete surfaces and there were no chairs for fans, and after a long period of time chairs were put, which made the area of the stands shrink and it could accommodate 17 thousand fans, and after a long time the stadium became unable to accommodate numbers. The big fans, especially in the derby between the poles of the city of Jeddah (Al-Ittihad and Al-Ahly), or in the finals such as the King’s Cup and the Crown Prince Cup, “a tournament that was canceled several years ago.”
The change of the name of the stadium from “Youth Welfare Stadium” to Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium came after the death of the latter, who was considered one of the pioneers of sports in Saudi Arabia, and the stadium was launched in his name in his memory.
In 2009, the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz ordered an expansion of the stadium and an increase in the number of seats for the fans, and the implementation of the project, which was stalled more than once during the past years, began, but is now nearing completion.