Mubadala Development, an investment arm of the United Arab Emirates has announced preliminary plans to build a 60,000-seater stadium, located in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi.

The proposed Khalifa Bin Zayed National Stadium is set to have a retractable roof and include a large, covered area around the facility for various events, earmarked to open in 2013.

The new stadium would surpass Zayed Sports City, which can hold 50,000 spectators and will eventually become the home of the UAE football team.

As spending wanes elsewhere in the region due to the recession, Abu Dhabi continues to invest heavily in transport systems, sporting facilities, universities and hospitals as it seeks to modernise the capital under its 2030 plan.

“It is good to know these sorts of opportunities are available in Abu Dhabi,” said Nigel Harvey, the general manager of the construction company Murray and Roberts of South Africa.

Harvey believes the firm, which has built similar stadiums in South Africa for the 2010 football World Cup and in Doha for the 2006 Asian Games, would bid for the project with its local partner Al Habtoor Leighton Group. Murray and Roberts has also built university projects in the capital as part of Abu Dhabi’s focus on “social infrastructure”.

The new stadium would complement Abu Dhabi’s efforts to secure the capital as a leading sporting destination, already the site of tennis and golf events that draw top-ranking players.

In October, the capital drew 50,000 motor racing fans for the inaugural 2009 Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and hosted the FIFA Club World Cup in December 2009 after financing a multimillion-dollar upgrade of its football stadiums.

Posted on 24/11/2009