Asian Football Confederation officials visited Qiddiya, where a stadium is set to be constructed on a cliff edge as part of Saudi Arabia's 2027 Asian Cup bid ©ITG

Asian football officials have today been viewing plans for a spectacular cliff edge stadium on the outskirts of Riyadh as part of their inspection tour of Saudi Arabia’s 2027 Asian Cup bid.

The 11 strong group travelled to the desert 30 kilometres outside the city, where a stadium, one of three new arenas in the Saudi 2027 bid, is to be constructed on a rock plateau at Qiddiya, in an area known locally as "The Edge of the World."

Much of the area, surrounded by spectacular rock formations remains desert but work has already started preparing the foundations before the building work on the stadium begins next year at the top of a plateau which is over 200 metres high.

The stadium is envisaged to have a capacity of 22,000, and will have seating on three sides but the fourth will be left open to provide a dramatic view across to the rock formations which designers say will also help ventilate the stadium in a natural way.

The roof is expected to feature some 24,000 voltaic cells which will be able to provide sufficient power for the stadium to operate on non-match days.

The electricity can also be distributed to the surrounding area.

The construction of a stadium at Qiddiya, an area known as
The construction of a stadium at Qiddiya, an area known as "The Edge of the World" is one of the plans unveiled as part of Saudi Arabia's bid to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup ©ITG

Plans for the stadium have been drawn up in consultation with Populous, the architectural design practice which conceived the master plan for many venues at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The surrounding rock formations at Qiddiya date back to prehistoric times but a major road to the site was only built in 1985.

In 2018, the area was chosen as the site for a major new city as part of the Saudi Government’s 2030 vision.

This is set to feature sporting facilities including a new aquatic centre, velodrome and whitewater canoeing centre and will host the athletes and the majority of sports for the 2034 Asian Games.

Officials have insisted that Qiddiya can stage surfing, a new Olympic sport which is set to be included in the Asian Games from 2026.

The complex is expected to stretch over 367 square kilometres, half the size of Singapore.

It has been conceived with the idea of achieving sporting excellence, but also encouraging healthy participation in physical activity.

Qiddiya has become part of the route for the Dakar Rally and it is also envisaged that the area will become the new permanent home for the Saudi Arabian Formula One Grand Prix from the middle of the decade.