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Riyadh’s recyclable football fan zone a ‘world-first for sustainability’ 

Riyadh: A football fan zone in Riyadh constructed entirely from recycled plastic pallets is a “world-first for sustainability,” its backers have said.

Spearheaded by Saudi Arabian Logistics, the eco-friendly project in the capital’s Laysen Valley will provide football fans with a dynamic environment to watch Roshn Saudi League matches.

With a seating capacity of more than 250, the fan zone will deliver action-packed viewing of the final five matches of the league amid anticipation for the crowning of the champion.

Each recycled plastic pallet used in the fan zone’s construction has been repurposed to create a seating layout that promotes interaction among football fans.

SAL designed the project with an eye on Saudi Arabia’s ambitious sustainability goals, including combating plastic pollution and promoting a circular economy.

SAL Managing Director and CEO Faisal Albedah, told Arab News about the inspiration behind the fan zone.

“Our dedication at SAL to sustainability and creativity served as the impetus for constructing the first-ever fan zone made entirely of plastic pallets, which are used on a daily basis in our 18 stations around the Kingdom in partnership with the Oil Sustainability Program,” he said.

The company wanted to play a role in tackling environmental concerns and curbing deforestation by demonstrating the utility of repurposed materials, he added. As the logistical sponsor of the Saudi Pro League, SAL has also pledged to unite communities through a shared enjoyment of football.

Mohammed Al-Tayyar, program director at the OSP, highlighted the significance of plastic pallets in environmental sustainability and economic efficiency. “From an environmental perspective, the material is recyclable, and time and resource efficient, as they are both durable and eliminate the need to cut trees to manufacture wooden pallets,” he told Arab News.

Plastic pallets outlast their alternatives and can be reused more than 250 times, leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions, he added.

The launch of the fan zone marks a major milestone in Riyadh’s sporting landscape and signals a shift toward sustainable approaches in fan engagement. As spectators gather in Laysen Valley to witness the climax of the Roshn Saudi League, they will not only partake in the thrill of competitive football, but also champion the cause of environmental sustainability.

Since the fan zone opened, the response from spectators has been “overwhelmingly positive,” added Al-Bedah.

“The attendees for our first event exceeded 200 fans cheering for both teams, Al-Hilal and Al-Ahli. This encouraging response validates the efficacy of our strategy and motivates us to expand and follow the path of bringing more cutting-edge initiatives to the ground.”

Al-Tayyar said that the Oil Sustainability Program has plans to replicate the success of the fan zone in other industries. “We aim to find, replicate and alter sustainable solutions for transportation, materials and utilities to meet global needs,” he added.

As the final matches of the Roshn Saudi League kick off, spectators at the fan zone are hoping that history can be made not only on the pitch, but also in the realm of sustainable sports infrastructure.

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