RIYADH: Thousands of Saudis are set to be trained on event management and safety protocols by one of the firms that played a key role in last year’s FIFA World Cup.
Qatar-based Stadium LLC has agreed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Excellence Co. to provide the service at a new academy.
The deal comes as the Kingdom looks to boost its entertainment and live events sector as part of the Vision 2030 initiative to diversify the economy and reduce its reliance on oil revenues.
Stadium LLC — a subsidiary of the UK firm Stadium — provided training to some 8,500 operatives at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, helping to keep a cumulative 3.4 million spectators safe across eight venues during the tournament.
David McAtamney, owner and founder of Stadium, said: “This is a really exciting agreement which will help to play a key role in propelling sport and expanding industry in Saudi Arabia — a country which has a tremendous appetite for live events and is making significant waves in the world of sport.
“Saudi Arabia has a population of more than 35 million and over two-thirds of those are under the age of 35, and growing the security and events management industry in the country and creating jobs is key to unlocking its sporting potential.”
Led by Sheikh Abdullah Zaid Al-Meleihi, Saudi Excellence Co. is part of the Al-Ramez International Group and is one of the leading security and defense companies in the region, providing services to the Saudi government.
The partnership formed as a result of Stadium’s key role in the World Cup where it provided safety training to thousands of operatives in Qatar, ensuring they gained formal qualifications including a Level 2 International Certificate in Spectator Safety, a Level 3 Certificate in Spectator Safety Supervision, as well as a Level 4 Diploma in Spectator Safety Management.
Reflecting on the deal, Al-Meleihi said: “As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia witnesses an unprecedented expansion in supporting and hosting local and international sporting events, Saudi Excellence Co. intends to enhance security expertise in sports with our partner, Stadium LLC, in order to stay on top of this trend and develop a safe environment for such sporting events, as well as creating suitable and promising employment opportunities for young talent and retired security professionals.”
The agreement originated through a UK government trade mission to Saudi Arabia, and Business and Trade Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “It is excellent news that Stadium has secured this deal with Saudi Arabia, building on a trading relationship where total trade was worth £17.3 billion ($18.92) in 2022.”