King Fahd International Stadium in Saudi Arabia
King Fahd International Stadium in Saudi Arabia

Saudi-backed sports stadium may be new reality for Baghdad

A delegation of Saudi Arabian officials reportedly visited Baghdad, Iraq to push forward talks on the construction of a new football stadium.

China’s state-run press agency, Xinhua, released a report saying the delegation arrived in Iraq on 9 February, 2019, to discuss plans to build a sports arena with space for 100,000 spectators, according to Construction Week.

According to the report, the new arena, to be developed as an integrated sports city, will become the biggest stadium in Iraq, eclipsing Basra Sports City, which has a capacity of more than 65,000 people.

Xinhua said the new football stadium was being supported by Saudi Arabia’s King and Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The pledge by King Salman came after a friendly football match between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the report added, citing a March 2018 announcement by former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The football stadium will become an integrated sports city upon completion, although a date for this was not mentioned in Xinhua's report.

The Chinese news agency said Iraq’s government has created a committee of ministries to monitor progress on the construction project, which will be established under the umbrella of the Iraqi-Saudi Coordination Council.

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