Football in Saudi Arabia
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 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 four times, 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.
Saudi Arabia is currently placed 101 (as of 17 October 2013) on the FIFA World Ranking.
Updated as of June 19, 2013.
|21||Abdullah Al Oaisher||Goal-Keeper||21|
|2||Mansour Al Harbi||Defender||25|
|5||Osama Al Harbi||Defender||28|
|7||Kamil Al Mousa||Defender||30|
|12||Sultan Al Bishi||Defender||22|
|8||Yahya Al Shehri||Mid-fielder||21|
|13||Motaz Al Musa||Mid-fielder||25|
|15||Salman Al Faraj||Mid-fielder||23|
|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|
- 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games Round 16
- 1984 AFC Asian Cup – Champion
- 1988 AFC Asian Cup – Champion
- 1992 AFC Asian Cup – Runner-up
- 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup – Silver Medal
- 1994 FIFA World Cup – Round of 16
- 1994 Gulf Cup of Nations 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
- 2002 Gulf Cup of Nations in Riyadh – Champion
- 2002 FIFA World Cup – Group Stage
- 2003 Gulf Cup of Nations in Kuwait – Champion
- 2004 AFC Asian Cup – Group Stage
- 2006 FIFA World Cup – Group Stage
- 2007 AFC Asian Cup – Runner-up
- 2009 Gulf Cup of Nations in Oman – Runner-up
- 2011 AFC Asian Cup – Group Stage
League of Saudi Arabia
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
Clubs in the Abdul Latif Jameel 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 Nassr
List of Champions of the previous seasons
Performance by Club
||1977, 1979, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011|
||1982, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2009|
||1980, 1981, 1989, 1994, 1995, 2014, 2015|
||1991, 1992, 1993, 2004, 2006, 2012|
||1978, 1984, 2016|
- Al-Ittihad – Won AFC Champions League in 2004 and 2005.
- Al-Ittihad – Finished 4th at the FIFA Club World Cup.
- Al Nassr – Received the Fair Play Award at the FIFA Club World Cup.
- Al-Hilal – Won 2 tournaments of the Asian Cup twice.
- King Fahd International Stadium – Final round of each competition was held in that stadium. It is the home of Al-Hilal
- Prince Abdullah al-Faisal Stadium, Jeddah – It was also known as Youth Welfare stadium in Jeddah.
- Prince Sultan bin Fahd Stadium in Jeddah – It is the home of Al-Ahli (Jeddah) .
- Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium – It is a multi-use stadium in Khobar, and is the home stadium of Al-Qadisiya Al Khubar.
- King Abdul Aziz Stadium – It is a multi-use stadium in Mecca. The stadium has a capacity of 38,000 people, and is the home stadium of Al-Wahda FC (Mecca) .
- Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium – It is a multi-use stadium in Dammam, and is the home of Al-Ittifaq.
- Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium – It is a multi-use stadium in Riyadh. The stadium has a capacity of 30,000 people, and is the home of Al Nassr.
Best Player of Asia Award
- 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
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
- "James Dorsey: Soccer Emerges as Focal Point of Dissent in Saudi Arabia". Huffingtonpost.com. 2013-05-20. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "FIFA.com - Saudi Arabia on FIFA.com". fifa.com. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
- Jones, Rory (2013-05-01). "Saudi Arabia Seeks to Upgrade Domestic Professional Soccer - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "National Football Team of Saudi Arabia". Retrieved 2013-01-15.
- "Squad of Saudi Arabia". Retrieved 2013-06-19.
- 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.
- Wagner, Rob L. "Women's soccer making headway in Saudi Ara... JPost – Middle East". Jpost.com. Retrieved 2012-09-20.