Football in Saudi Arabia

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Football is the most popular sport in Saudi Arabia.[1] Football in Saudi Arabia is governed by Saudi Arabia Football Federation (Arabic: الاتحاد السعودي لكرة القدم‎). It was founded in the year of 1956.[2] It performs the function of administering both the club competitions and the national football team of Saudi Arabia.

The founder of Saudi Arabia Football Federation is Prince Abdullah bin Faisal al Saud.

History[edit]

King Fahd International Stadium.

National Football team[edit]

The Saudi Arabia national football team (Arabic: منتخب السعودية لكرة القدم‎), known to its fans as Al-Saqour which means The Falcons. Saudi Arabia is one of the most successful football team in Asia. Saudi Arabia has won the Asian Championship 3 times and has qualified for the FIFA World Cup four times, the first of which was in 1994.

League[edit]

The Saudi Professional League is the highest level of competition in the country. In the 1970s, football was organized on a regional basis across Saudi Arabia.[3]

In 1976–77, with the improvement of transportation links as well as local football, the Saudi Professional League was launched on a national basis. 8 clubs participated in the first season of the tournament.

In 1981, a decision was taken by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation to increase the number of clubs, thereby increasing the league to 18 clubs, 8 of which take part in the 1st League, with another 10 competing in the 2nd League. In the 1985–85 season the number of clubs in the 1st League was increased to 12 clubs.

In 1990, a new league championship was also introduced, known as The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques League Cup. It was a 2 stage competition – round robin and knockout-phase. The top 4 teams (knowns as the Golden Square) from the round robin moved to the knock-out phase to compete for the final championship.

In 2007–08 season, The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques Champions Cup was introduced for the more elite teams to compete for. 8 teams play in that competition which includes top 6 teams of the 1st League plus the winner of the Crown Prince Cup and the winner of the Prince Faisal Cup.

National Team[4][edit]

National Ranking[edit]

Saudi Arabia is currently placed 101 (as of 17 October 2013) on the FIFA World Ranking.

Current Squad[5][edit]

Updated as of June 19, 2013.

Jersey No. Name Position Age
1 Waleed Abdullah Goal-Keeper 26
21 Abdullah Al Oaisher Goal-Keeper 21
22 Khaled Sharahili Goal-Keeper 25
2 Mansour Al Harbi Defender 25
3 Osama Hawsawi Defender 28
4 Ahmad Asiri Defender 21
5 Osama Al Harbi Defender 28
7 Kamil Al Mousa Defender 30
12 Sultan Al Bishi Defender 22
6 Ahmed Ateef Mid-fielder 29
8 Yahya Al Shehri Mid-fielder 21
13 Motaz Al Musa Mid-fielder 25
14 Saud Khariri Mid-fielder 32
15 Salman Al Faraj Mid-fielder 23
16 Ibrahim Ghaleb Mid-fielder 22
17 Taisir Al Jassim Mid-fielder 28
18 Salem Al Dawsari Mid-fielder 21
23 Hussain Al Mogahwi Mid-fielder 24
9 Essa Al Mehyani Forward 29
10 Mohammad Al Sahlawi Forward 26
11 Naseer Al Shamrani Forward 29
19 Fahd Al Muwallad Forward 18
20 Yasser Al Qahtani Forward 30

Achievements[edit]

League of Saudi Arabia[edit]

There are 3 Division in Saudi Arabia football League.

  • Abdul Latif Jameel League Saudi Professional League – 14 Clubs
  • Division 1 – 16 Clubs
  • Division 2 – 20 Clubs, further divided into Group A and B, 10 clubs each.

Abdul Latif Jameel Saudi Professional League[edit]

Clubs in the Zain Saudi Professional League are – Al Fateh, Al Hilal, Al Shabab, Al Nassr, Al Ittifaq, Al Ahli, Al Ittihad, Najran, Al Raed, Al Taawon, Hajer, Al Faisaly, Al Shoalah, Al Wahda.

The current champion of the League is Al Fateh.

List of Champions of the previous seasons[6][edit]

No. Season Champion
1 1974–75 Al-Nassr[7]
2 1976–77 Al-Hilal
2 1977–78 Al-Ahli
3 1978–79 Al-Hilal
4 1979–80 Al-Nassr
5 1980–81 Al-Nassr
6 1981–82 Al-Ittihad
7 1982–83 Al-Ettifaq
8 1983–84 Al-Ahli
9 1984–85 Al-Hilal
10 1985–86 Al-Hilal
11 1986–87 Al-Ettifaq
12 1987–88 Al-Hilal
13 1988–89 Al-Nassr
14 1989–90 Al-Hilal
15 1990–91 Al-Shabab
16 1991–92 Al-Shabab
17 1992–93 Al-Shabab
No. Season Champion
18 1993–94 Al-Nassr
19 1994–95 Al-Nassr
20 1995–96 Al-Hilal
21 1996–97 Al-Ittihad
22 1997–98 Al-Hilal
23 1998–99 Al-Ittihad
24 1999–2000 Al-Ittihad
25 2000–01 Al-Ittihad
26 2001–02 Al-Hilal
27 2002–03 Al-Ittihad
28 2003–04 Al-Shabab
29 2004–05 Al-Hilal
30 2005–06 Al-Shabab
31 2006–07 Al-Ittihad
32 2007–08 Al-Hilal
33 2008–09 Al-Ittihad
34 2009–10 Al-Hilal
No. Season Champion
35 2010–11 Al-Hilal
36 2011–12 Al-Shabab
37 2012–13 Al-Fateh
38 2012–13 Al-Nassr

Performance by Club[edit]

No. Club Winners Winning Years
1 Al-Hilal
13
1977, 1979, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011
2 Al-Ittihad
8
1982, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2009
3 Al-Nassr
7
1975, 1980, 1981, 1989, 1994, 1995, 2014
4 Al-Shabab
6
1991, 1992, 1993, 2004, 2006, 2012
5 Al-Ahli
2
1978, 1984
6 Al-Ettifaq
2
1983, 1987
7 Al-Fateh
1
2013

Achievements[edit]

Saudi Stadia[edit]

Best Player of Asia Award[edit]

  • In 1984, 1985, 1986 (3) - Majed Abdullah - Al Nassr Club[8]
  • In 1994 – Saeed Al-Owairan – Al Shabab Club
  • In 2000 – Nawaf Al-Temyat – Al Hilal Club
  • In 2005 – Hamad Al Montashiri – Al Ittihad Club
  • In 2007 – Yasser Al Qahatani – Al Hilal Club

Women's football[edit]

Women's football is played in Saudi Arabia but only in the affluent areas.[9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "James Dorsey: Soccer Emerges as Focal Point of Dissent in Saudi Arabia". Huffingtonpost.com. 2013-05-20. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  2. ^ "FIFA.com - Saudi Arabia on FIFA.com". fifa.com. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Jones, Rory (2013-05-01). "Saudi Arabia Seeks to Upgrade Domestic Professional Soccer - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  4. ^ "National Football Team of Saudi Arabia". Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  5. ^ "Squad of Saudi Arabia". Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  6. ^ "League Champions List". Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  7. ^ "Record of Champions". http://www.kooora.com/. Choueiri Group’s Kooora. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Shaun, Morris. "The Top 10 Asian Footballers". http://exclusivesportsmedia.tv/. ESP - September 27, 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Templin, Jacob (2012-08-07). "Video: The Secret Life of a Saudi Women’s Soccer Team | World | TIME.com". World.time.com. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  10. ^ Wagner, Rob L. "Women's soccer making headway in Saudi Ara... JPost – Middle East". Jpost.com. Retrieved 2012-09-20.