Dubai-based Duplays to build network of sports centers in Saudi Arabia

Duplays organizes and runs corporate and private sports tournaments across the emirate. (Courtesy Duplays)
Updated 07 September 2017
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Dubai-based Duplays to build network of sports centers in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: A Dubai-based company will this month break ground on the first in a series of new privately owned football sports complexes in Jeddah.
Duplays, which currently organizes and runs corporate and private sports tournaments across the emirate, has formed a joint venture company with its own local partner and with Saudi-based developer Al Hokair Group to build the first of three pilot projects in major Saudi cities.
The 100,000-square-foot Duplays Dome project will contain about 60,000 sq ft of outdoor, ‘small-format’ pitches typically used for games of 5-a-side up to 8-a-side football, but which can be converted for bigger, 11-a-side games. There is also 40,000 sq ft of climate-controlled space containing indoor courts that can be used for football, or for other games such as basketball and badminton, as well as a clubhouse, showers and changing facilities.
Duplays co-founder Ravi Bhusari said that the first center in northern Jeddah will “be finished before the end of the year”.
“The type of construction we are using is a modular construction and they are quick build facilities,” said Bhusari.
This will be followed by two more Duplays Dome pilot projects in Riyadh and in the Eastern Province which, if successful, will facilitate a rapid rollout across the kingdom.
Bhusari said the center has been modelled on the ‘soccer centers’ concept developed in the UK by companies such as Goals and PowerLeague. The company will rent pitches to groups of friends who want to play each other, but would also run more formal leagues with referees, kits and schedules for groups and individuals who want to take part in competitions. Duplays will also run Ronaldinho Soccer Academies from the centers.
Bhusari said that his ambition is to rollout 50 centers in five years — “not just because it sounds nice, but because I think it’s achievable”.
“But maybe 30 in five might be a little more achievable. PowerLeague has around 49 centers. Goals has around the same or slightly more. It’s taken them ten years or so to build those, but Saudi is a new market, we do have a great local partner in Al Hokair [and] Duplays brings its own humble experience.
“We’ll see. But I’m sure that every large city or every secondary city in Saudi could use or probably would want a sport facility like the one we envision.”


Aramco to buy Shell’s 50% stake in Saudi refining joint venture for $631m

Updated 34 min 29 sec ago
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Aramco to buy Shell’s 50% stake in Saudi refining joint venture for $631m

  • The sale is expected to complete later this year
  • Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Co., based in Jubail Industrial City, has a crude oil refining capacity of 305,000 barrels per day

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco will acquire Royal Dutch Shell’s 50 percent stake in their Saudi refining joint venture SASREF for $631 million, the two companies said on Sunday.

The purchase, which is part of Aramco’s strategy to expand its downstream operations, will be completed later this year, they said in a joint statement.

Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Co. (SASREF), based in Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia, has a crude oil refining capacity of 305,000 barrels per day (bpd).

“Saudi Aramco will take full ownership and integrate the refinery into its growing downstream portfolio. SASREF will continue to be a critical facility in our refining and chemicals business,” Abdulaziz Al-Judaimi, Aramco’s senior vice president of downstream, said in the statement.

Aramco aims to become a global leader in chemicals and the world’s largest integrated energy firm, with plans to expand its refining operations and petrochemical output.

For Shell, “the sale is part of an ongoing effort to focus its refining portfolio, integrating with Shell trading hubs and chemicals,” the company said.

Shell has sold over $30 billion of assets in recent years as it shifts its focus to lower carbon businesses such as natural gas and petrochemicals.