Football in Saudi Arabia
|Football in Saudi Arabia|
King Fahd International Stadium
|Governing body||Saudi Arabia Football Federation|
|National team(s)||men's national team|
Football is the most popular sport in Saudi Arabia. Football in Saudi Arabia is governed by Saudi Arabia Football Federation (Arabic: الاتحاد السعودي لكرة القدم). It was founded in the year of 1956. 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.
- 1 History
- 2 National Team
- 3 League of Saudi Arabia
- 4 List of Champions of the previous seasons
- 5 Saudi Stadiums
- 6 Best Player of Asia Award
- 7 League system
- 8 Women's football
- 9 Saudi Arabia Football Privatization
- 10 External links
- 11 References
National Football team
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 five times (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2018), the first of which was in 1994.
Saudi Arabia has a major rivalry with Iran.
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. 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.
As of 30 August 2017[update], Saudi Arabia was placed 59 on the FIFA World Ranking.
- 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games Round 16
- 1984 AFC Asian Cup – Champion
- 1986 FIFA world cup qualifiers - first round
- 1988 AFC Asian Cup – Champion
- 1992 AFC Asian Cup – Runner-up
- 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup – Silver Medal
- 1994 FIFA World Cup – Round of 16
- 12th Arabian Gulf Cup in UAE – Champion
- 1996 AFC Asian Cup – Champion
- 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup – Group stage
- 1998 FIFA World Cup – Group Stage
- 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup – 4th place
- 2000 AFC Asian Cup – Runner-up
- 15th Arabian Gulf Cup in Riyadh – Champion
- 2002 FIFA World Cup – Group Stage
- 16th Arabian Gulf Cup in Kuwait – Champion
- 2004 AFC Asian Cup – Group Stage
- 2006 FIFA World Cup – Group Stage
- 2007 AFC Asian Cup – Runner-up
- 19th Arabian Gulf Cup in Oman – Runner-up
- 2011 AFC Asian Cup – Group Stage
- 2015 AFC Asian Cup – Group Stage
- 2018 FIFA World Cup – Group Stage
- 2019 AFC Asian Cup – Round of 16
League of Saudi Arabia
There are three professional football league levels of Saudi Arabia:
- Saudi Professional League – 16 clubs (expanded from 14 starting from 2018–19 season)
- Prince Mohammad bin Salman League – 20 clubs (expanded from 16 starting from 2018–19 season)
- Second Division – 24 clubs (expanded from 20 starting from 2018–19 season)
List of Champions of the previous seasons
Performance by Club
Best Player of Asia Award
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
Football is the most popular sport for Saudi women. however, there is no official football academies, clubs or school leagues. The Saudi women succeeded in creating more than 10 recreational teams across the country, most of the teams are based in the big cities: Riyadh, Jeddah and Khobar. in 2018, the saudi women team leaders started to organise regional leagues. some of the well-known teams are: alyamama, challenge, almamlaka, Easten Flames, Jeddah Eagles and Jeddah Waves.
Saudi Arabia Football Privatization
The government of Saudi Arabia in November 2016 approved plans to turn state-owned sports clubs into private companies.. This is part of the economic reforms to reduce Saudi reliance on oil exports and ease financial burdens on the government .
The Saudi National Football Team has won the Asian Championship three times and has qualified for the FIFA World Cup four times. The Saudi Football League has been ranked 27th in 2015 by the International Federation of Football .
Football sport is one of the most popular with over 4 billion followers in the world