Football in Saudi Arabia

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Football in Saudi Arabia
Country Saudi Arabia
National team men's national team
International competitions

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 teams 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.

Saudi Arabia has a major rivalry with Iran.

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] Since 2013, the Saudi Pro League has been sponsored by the Abdul Latif Jameel company.

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]

As of 30 August 2017, Saudi Arabia was placed 59 on the FIFA World Ranking.

Achievements[edit]

League of Saudi Arabia[edit]

There are 3 Divisions in the League of Saudi Arabia:

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

Abdul Latif Jameel League[edit]

Clubs in the Abdul Latif Jameel League are – Al Fateh, Al Hilal, Al Shabab, Al Nassr, Ettifaq, Al Ahli, Al Ittihad, Al Baten, Al Raed, Al Taawon, Al Qadsiyah, Al Faisaly, Al Khaleej, Al Wahda.

As of 2016, the champion of the League was Al Ahli.

List of Champions of the previous seasons[edit]

No. Season Champion
1 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
No. Season Champion
17 1992–93 Al-Shabab
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
No. Season Champion
33 2008–09 Al-Ittihad
34 2009–10 Al-Hilal
35 2010–11 Al-Hilal
36 2011–12 Al-Shabab
37 2012–13 Al-Fateh
38 2013–14 Al-Nassr
39 2014–15 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
1980, 1981, 1989, 1994, 1995, 2014, 2015
4 Al-Shabab
6
1991, 1992, 1993, 2004, 2006, 2012
5 Al-Ahli
3
1978, 1984, 2016
6 Al-Ettifaq
2
1983, 1987
7 Al-Fateh
1
2013

Achievements[edit]

Saudi Stadiums[edit]

Best Player of Asia Award[edit]

  • In 1984 , 1985 ,1986 – Majed Abdullah – Al Nassr club
  • 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
  • In 2015 − Nasser Al Shamrani – Al Hilal Club

league system[edit]

The Saudi Arabia association football league system is organized in a pyramidal shape similar to football league systems in many other countries around the world. The leagues are bound by the principle of promotion and relegation

Women's football[edit]

Women's football is played in Saudi Arabia, but only in the affluent areas, as the country's very restrictive laws (especially those concerning women) inhibit the practice of the sport.[5][6]

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. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Wagner, Rob L. "Women's soccer making headway in Saudi Ara... JPost – Middle East". Jpost.com. Retrieved 2012-09-20.