Dubai has launched a competition to design a 60,000-seater stadium that will be built in the UAE emirate to stage matches at football’s 2019 Asian Cup, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in March awarded hosting rights for the 24-nation tournament to the UAE, rejecting a rival proposal from Iran.
Matches are expected to be played in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, Dubai and oasis town Al Ain. Each will likely use two stadiums, with AFC regulations stating the hosts must employ at least six for the tournament.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), which did not respond to requests for comment, has the remit from the emirate’s government to build the football stadium, the sources said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the design competition has not been made public.
Some design bids have already been submitted to the RTA, the sources said, with a mixture of architects, engineers and consultants collaborating on individual submissions.
The stadium will be built in or near Dubai Sports City, which is already home to a 25,000-capacity cricket stadium that is also expected to host matches at the 2019 football tournament.
The award of the Asian Cup reinvigorated Dubai’s plans to build a large-capacity sports venue. In 2007, it awarded a design and construction contract for two stadiums – a 60,000-capacity outdoor venue and a 10,000-capacity indoor venue – that at the time was valued at Dh830 million ($225.97 million). Both were slated to be completed in 2009, but were mothballed following Dubai’s real estate crash and debt crisis.
Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City, which staged the final when the UAE last hosted the Asian Cup in 1996, has a capacity of 43,000, while the capital’s other main ground is the 42,000-seater Mohammed bin Zayed stadium.