What are the factors significant to make an impact on football in Saudi Arabia?

impact on football in Saudi Arabia

The social and economic repercussions of football were primarily apparent in Latin American nations, but following Qatar’s excellent set-up of the FIFA World Cup, how Arab nations recognised the importance of this game and started taking steps in that direction is admirable and will serve as an instance of insight. Football is a significant aspect of Saudi culture and has been practised for a long time. Considering the latest signings of football luminaries such as Cristiano Ronaldo, the Al Nasr Team of Saudi Arabia has inked a Rs 170 billion contract, signalling that Saudi Arabia aims to utilise football as an avenue for both culture and tourism in the nation. The way according to which Ronaldo has been provided with a luxury 5-star complex of 17 rooms to reside in, in addition to freedom from the legislation that forbids unmarried live-in relationships, indicates that the goal of this deal, as well as its repercussions, will not be restricted to the playing field.

Al Nassr and Al Hilal, both of Saudi Arabia’s largest clubs, spend extensively on their squads to render them competitive worldwide. This has piqued the curiosity of both residents and visitors in the world of athletics. Following a statement in Barca Universal, Al-Nassr’s opponent Al Hilal has made a record bid of 24 billion rupees for an entire season for Argentine striker Messi, also known as Lionel Messi. Al Nassr’s main competitor is supposed to be Al Hilal. Lionel Messi’s agreement with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) expires in June, and the Saudi club is interested in acquiring him within as little time as feasible. Per laws, Al Hilal is not permitted to sign any new players till the upcoming transfer window, although the options are willing to consider acquiring the Argentine player right away, enabling him to move to their team in the summertime. “The game of football is additionally being utilised as a tool for societal transformation in Saudi Arabia.” It has proven successful in bringing individuals from all origins and cultures together. It is beneficial, additionally providing entertainment for youngsters who hadn’t previously had the opportunity for amusement or other types of enjoyment.”

“Football’s prominence in Saudi Arabia continues to increase yearly, and the sport has become a crucial component of the country.” Al Wehda, Al Nassr, and Al Hilal have all produced players such as Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo.

“With announcements of acquisitions for clubs like Saudi Arabia, it’s almost unavoidable that greater numbers of individuals from all over the globe will be drawn towards watching athletic activity in Saudi Arabia.” This heightened attention will result in an inflow of tourists, which will result in greater sales of tickets and retail sales. Growth in revenues, the hospitality industry, and industry may boost the country’s economic growth. “These initiatives constitute a component of Saudi Vision 2030, a nationwide trans formative road-map introduced in 2016.” The strategy intends to establish Saudi Arabia as an economic superpower worldwide. Saudi Arabia aims to develop its reputation as an appealing location for tourists and shareholders and offer its citizens an outstanding standard of living. The sport of football has a lot to contribute to Saudi Arabia as well as may be considered as an important step forward in terms of cultural growth.”

Saudi Arabia highlighted athletics in 2016 as a component of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Agenda 2030. Since then, the Saudi sporting sector has been working towards three key objectives. Boosting community engagement in athletics to 40% by 2030, enhancing Saudi sportsmen’s international visibility while improving the sporting economy. The first of Agenda 2030’s aims was to render the province a destination for major amateur sports activities that would have far-reaching consequences for the nation, such as employment development. The sports industry employed over 14,000 people that year. Furthermore, positions in sports organisations have expanded by 129% in the past three years due to increased sporting options. Administrative employment climbed by 156% between 2018 and 2021, whereas professional sports opportunities expanded by more than 114%.
Another significant advantage of having athletic competitions in the country is the monetary effect of the tourism industry since such activities increase the total number of international tourists from across the globe who may spend money to help in the economy of Saudi Arabia. In 2020, as per the government, sporting occurrences produced almost $9.8 million which is equal to 36.9 million Saudi riyals in ticketing income as well as tourist expenditure. Additionally, the sports business adds to accommodation expenditure and the hotel sector. During the initial eight months of 2022, Riyadh and Jeddah will host sports that include Race on the Red Sea, Formula E and Formula 1.

One of the most significant barriers to encouraging sports in Saudi Arabia was the minimal involvement of female. Top-down changes have aided in addressing this issue. In 2018, families, rather than simply males, had permission to go into the stadium. After this modification, the number of people participating in sporting activities climbed by 152%. The Ministry of Education announced a resolution 2017 to adopt sports lessons at girls’ educational institutions, which used to be unavailable in public institutions, to boost women’s engagement in sports. These changes contributed to a 150 per cent rise in female participation in sports between 2015 and 2019. Presently, the state boasts approximately 6,000 female athletes and 27 women’s athletic teams.

Saudi Arabia has competed in the FIFA World Cup six times, plus the country has more than 100 professional football clubs, including 16 in the Saudi Professionals League, 20 in the league’s First Division, 28 in the 2nd Division, and 32 in the 3rd Division. Because India withdrew its candidature for hosting the AFC Asian Cup in the year 2027, Saudi Arabia is the lone bidder, and it is up to Saudi Arabia to win the World Cup hosted by FIFA after effectively holding the Asian Cup. Saudi Arabia is ready to bid on hosting the 2030 World Cup of FIFA. Regarding Arab countries, the nation with an estimated population of almost 36 crore remains passionate about athletics. Saudi Arabia additionally won several medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

Besides football, equestrian sports like horse racing, athletics, karate, and Formula One are popular among Saudis, and their involvement is obvious. As it is evident that Saudi Arabia wishes to diversify its economy instead of focusing on tourism, oil and sports might become its primary source of revenue. Sports-related events will be abundant here in the days to come. Saudi Arabia, a mainly desert nation with temperatures in the summer reaching fifty degrees Fahrenheit, has been selected for hosting the 2029 Asian Winter Games and is constructing a winter sporting centre in the $500 billion mega-city Neom, which will stay snowy and cold all year. The Asian Games will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2034. The LIV Tour of Golf, funded by Saudi money, has taken the game of golf by storm. Record-breaking winnings and large signing-in charges have enticed top players.

Dustin Johnson was one of the biggest beneficiaries, collecting $35 million worth of winnings in the first season after being awarded $150 million simply for consenting to play. This year, the LIV will grow from a 54-hole, part-team structure to a 14-tournament worldwide event with an all-time high of $405 million in cash prizes. Saudi Aramco, the globe’s biggest oil producer and one of its wealthiest corporations, started to sponsor important tournaments produced by the International Cricket Council (ICC), including both the male and female ODI and World Cups for T20 cricket. During the $20 million Saudi Trophy, the world’s wealthiest event, Saudi Arabia has surpassed horse racing. Saudi-owned horses have prevailed in the past two tournaments.

Saudi Arabia and other adjacent nations are constantly spending to increase Arab ownership and impact in football. With its Sports Fund (QSI), Qatar plans to invest in the English Premier League (6 billion Pounds), the world’s wealthiest and most popular league. Tottenham Hotspur, a London-based team, has had investment negotiations. Qatar has paid 19 million pounds for a 22 per cent share in Portuguese team SC Braga. QSI is also looking at opportunities in Belgium, Spain, and Brazil. The English Premier League has a good relationship with the Gulf nations. Manchester City Club was purchased by the Abu Dhabi family of monarchs in 2008. Manchester City has captured the Premier League title six times while Abu Dhabi purchased the team, and the team is also profitable financially.

In the meantime, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia has agreed to pay $300 million to buy English Premier League team Newcastle United in 2021. Qatar also owns beIN Sports, the European and Middle Eastern sports broadcaster. Aside from football, Qatar’s Sports Fund (QSI) is currently investing in formula one, squash, and tennis. The itinerant character of the Saudi people is another essential component in advertising the tourism industry through games and athletic activities. Saudis spend over $50 billion on international travel each year. The Saudi government is attempting to provide the youthful population of those employed for over 35 years the choice of spending within the nation. In Saudi Arabia, 60% of the total population is below the age limit of 35, and they support Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his pursuit of Saudi reform. This Saudi populace has been educated overseas, communicates English, and is prepared to use technologies to effect change.

As per the reports, tourism is one of the biggest and most promising industries in Saudi Arabia as the tourists visiting the kingdom spend almost $7.19 billion, equal to 27 billion riyals in the starting six months of 2022. Almost 3.6 million international visitors visited the nation during the second half of 2022, significantly contributing to Vision 2030`s objective to enhance avenues for income. The nation`s goal is to become a top-five worldwide destination by 2030, and the kingdom is open to foreign tourists and businesses. One month after the launch of the Riyadh season 22 winter event on October 21, around 6 million people visited the season. Saudi Arabia has granted access to its gates to worldwide luxury hotel companies and encouraged visitors from abroad to its historic cultural attractions and beautiful beaches for the first time while also introducing fresh wonders to the globe. Saudi Arabia is expanding its options for people and international tourists to discover the globe by including athletic and entertaining activities worldwide. According to Saudi Vision 2030, the kingdom wants the business community to contribute 65% of GDP by 2030.

Saudi Entertainment Enterprises has announced an investment of more than SAR 50 billion to create 21 enjoyable locations to deliver imaginative and distinctive exceptional entertainment instances and worldwide relationships from within the industry. SEVEN just announced the start of work of its entertainment centre in the Al Hamra region of Riyadh, additionally, in the locations of the coming projects in around 14 cities of the country: Kharj, Jeddah, Dammam, Al Ahsa, Yanbu, Jazan, Tabuk, Riyadh, Makkah, Taif, Khobar, Madinah, Abha and Buraidah. The entertainment enterprises of Saudi have also announced starting the construction of entertainment locations in the region of Tabuk. SEVEN`s entertainment centre in Tabuk, with an estimated development worth more than SAR 1 billion, will alter the region`s entertainment environment with diverse activities and experiences.

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