The General Sports Authority (GSA) of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabian Football federation (SAFF) and LaLiga, the internationally renowned Spanish football league, today announced key next steps in their partnership to grow the game of football in Saudi Arabia.
First announced in October, the multi-year partnership has multiple elements including an academy partnership and a talent scouting initiative for young footballers in Saudi Arabia.
At an event in Riyadh today seven clubs from LaLiga Santander and LaLiga 1│2│3, the first and second division of Spain’s professional football competition, respectively, announced that they will take 9 players from Saudi Arabia on loan. These loan agreements, for an initial period of six months, allow these players to further develop their skills training and playing in Spain.
The incorporation of players from Saudi Arabia in the Spanish clubs follows a rigorous scouting program that spanned multiple months to identify the best talent. Players coming to Spain include three players from Saudi Arabia’s national team that were instrumental in their nation qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup: Salem Al Dawsari, Fahad Mowallad and Yahia Sahari. They will join teams of Spanish first division clubs. Other talent coming to Spain will join second division and youth teams.
“Football is the most popular sport in Saudi Arabia. Along with the Saudi football federation we are committed to give the youth the chance to achieve their objectives and play football at the highest level possible,” said H.E. Turky Al-Alsheikh, chairman of the General Sport Authority of Saudi Arabia. “It is GSA’s ongoing and long-term objective to develop football and elevating its level in the kingdom while also creating the new generation of footballers.”
For the Spanish clubs, adding players from Saudi Arabia not only expands their squads, it also means added exposure in the Arab world. LaLiga already is the most popular international league in the region, the incorporation of players from Saudi Arabia in both first and second division clubs is sure to increase the audience and expand commercial opportunities.
As part of the agreement with LaLiga, SAFF is also working to create local football academies in Saudi Arabia under the brand, technical supervision, and expertise of LaLiga. It aims to provide the best football training methods to young Saudi players allowing them to attain sufficient skills through a long term training process. It also aims to work with football coaches across the country to develop coaching skills and methodologies over the coming years.
PLAYERS LOAN TRANSFER LIST
Yahia Sahiri to Leganés
Fahad Muwallad to Levante
Salmam Al Dawsari to Villareal
Ali Al Namer to Numancia
Abdulmajeed Al Sulaiheem to Rayo Vallecano
Abdullah Alhamdan to Sporting de Gijón
Nooh Al Mousa to Valladolid
Marwan Othmnan to Leganés Youth Academy
Jabor Issa to Villareal Youth Academy