Saudi Arabia provides $650m boost to sports sector as part of Vision 2030

Key areas for development include infrastructure, fan attendance and engagement, and diversification

Powered by automated translation

Saudi Arabia’s sports sector has received a significant boost with the General Sports Authority committing $650 million (Dh2.38 billion) as part of the country’s Vision 2030.

Announced on Monday, the financial and governance strategy is designed to encourage sports clubs to “diversify the sports practices and commit to the highest standards of governance,” a statement read.

Key areas for development include infrastructure, fan attendance and engagement, and diversification. In line with the strategy, 170 clubs currently active in Saudi Arabia will receive direct financial support as well as performance-based support.

“Sports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was always a key focus for our government and a passion for our people,” said Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA). “We have talented athletes, passionate fans and an ambitious vision to develop the sports sector and our teams to compete on the highest levels.

“This strategy was designed after months of research done by global experts and we are confident that it will massively impact the governance and professionalism level of our sporting practice in the Kingdom in the years to come.

“This announcement comes after thorough and in-depth talks with Saudi clubs. Together we aim to work for the benefit of Saudi sport by supporting clubs not only with direct funds but also based on their performance and for complying with the strategy.”

The initiative will comprise three phases, with the first to cover football, volleyball, basketball, handball and athletics. Saudi Arabia’s sports scene has experienced significant growth in the past few years, with the Kingdom now home to Formula E, Dakar Rally, the Italian Super Cup, golf’s European Tour and the Handball World Cup. Earlier this month, it hosted a Super Boxing League event in Jeddah.