Privatization of sports clubs welcomed to bring quality shift in Saudi sports

Updated 23 November 2016
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Privatization of sports clubs welcomed to bring quality shift in Saudi sports

RIYADH: The Cabinet decision approving privatization of sports clubs in the Kingdom enthused sports lovers, analysts and businessmen alike, as they welcomed the decision on Tuesday, which they described as a good move to bring a quality shift in Saudi sports, and promote more sports clubs.
The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman here on Monday, approved the privatization of premier football league clubs. The General Authority for Sports will stipulate the regulations and conditions governing how these sports companies will carry out their activities.
Moreover, it approved formation of a committee to supervise the completion of the club privatization stages, to be headed by the president of the General Authority for Sports, and members comprising the deputy minister of economy and planning, commerce undersecretary for systems and regulations, in addition to representatives of the Finance Ministry, the Saudi Arabian Football Association, and the Professional League Association.
Majed Abdullah Al Hedayan, legal affairs in-charge at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Arab News, “With this decision we are assured of a way of switching sports institutions of full reliability to professionalism, more competitive sports, and a better future of sports organizations to create internal investment opportunities, contribute to the creation of permanent jobs, and help to stimulate physical activity and creativity to achieve sustainable development in sports to meet the public’s aspirations and expectations.”
He said sports clubs have been given considerable attention in recent years, and attempts were made to revive these institutions, enhancing their role in society, which, unfortunately, did not keep pace with the required progress at the national level, as they were not commensurate with the needs of young people, who represent a large proportion of our society.
Abdurrahman Inayat, a sports enthusiast, said sports and entertainment form an important part of the Vision 2030, as the ambitious plan asserts that the two aspects represent the main pillars of a quality life; therefore, the government pledges to provide a rich experience and reach the citizen’s expectations. This decision would encourage the sports sector, and allow it to contribute to the national economy and help diversify income sources with the private sector, he added.
Commenting on the decision, Fawwaz bin Khairi Al-Hakami, an associate professor for sports sciences at King Saud University, said that the Cabinet decision is a mega-stimulus for investment as it copes with the economic diversification drive contained in Vision 2030. It is expected that private investment in sports clubs will generate thousands of jobs, he added.
Salman Al-Malik, of the Saudi Arabian Football Association, told local media that the privatization decision was a positive step and a quality leap for sports in the Kingdom. The privatization move is a historic decision that will positively be reflected on sports clubs, in particular, and sports, in general, he added.
Appreciating the decision, sports investors speaking on local TV went on to suggest that an inventory of assets of the sports clubs should be made before the privatization process.


Petra Kvitova makes her point with semifinal against Hsieh Su-wei next up

Updated 55 min 14 sec ago
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Petra Kvitova makes her point with semifinal against Hsieh Su-wei next up

  • World No. 4 looked close to her best as she demolished Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-0 at the Aviation Club.
  • Czech set to face Hsieh Su-wei in tough last-four battle.

LONDON: Petra Kvitova has been her own worst critic so far this week, but even she allowed herself a smile after the Czech finally illustrated she is a contender for the the title.
The world No. 4 beat Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-0 with the sort of display that was the polar opposite of her sluggish, flat displays earlier in the week.
Coming into the quarterfinal Kvitova looked anything but possible champion material. She was taken all the way by both Katerina Siniakova and Jennifer Brady and admitted all was not well with her game.


On Center Court against Kuzmova, however, the 28-year-old looked more like the player who reached last month’s Australian Open final and a two-time Wimbledon champion. And after she had wrapped up the match, completed in just 62 minutes, Kvitova admitted she was finally feeling in good form.
“I am pleased. Definitely more than those two matches before,” she said.
“I didn’t give her any, like, time to do her job, maybe turn the match on her way.”
Having spent more than five hours on court in the first two rounds there was was finally some urgency about Kvitova. She admitted she came into the tournament undercooked and arrived in the last-eight tired. But against Kuzmova she dominated from the start and once she secured the first set — breaking in the decisive 10th game — there was only going to be one winner.
“Yeah, I was up pretty quickly, but I lost those games (in the first set),” Kvitova said.
“It was about that game when she was serving for five-all. She played the two double-faults. From that game, I think I was really fired up. “Even in the first game of the second set, I was already facing breakpoints again, which I didn’t want to. But it was probably the key game of the second set.”
Kvitova said she felt her game was on the rise again after losing the Australian Open final to Naomi Osaka and winning just one match a week later in Russia.
“Today was the first day of the better days on the court,” she said.
“It’s been tough since I came from Australia and St. Petersburg.
“I’m glad that it’s on the way up.”


Next up for her is a semifinal clash against Hsieh Su-wei. The world No. 31 from Taiwan won the last six games to beat fourth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
Kvitova has won all four of her meetings against Hsieh, most recently at the Sydney International in January. But that will count for little and on current form Hsieh looks like she will take some beating, having staged a remarkable fightback to beat another Czech.
Pliskova had looked in command serving for the set at 5-1 and then 5-3.
The persistent Hsieh kept up the pressure, narrowing the gap and levelling with a second straight break at five-all.
Hsieh then held for 6-5 and clinched the upset a game later on a second match point after two hours.
“I’m so excited, I was screaming like a baby when I won,” Hsieh said. “It was a tough comeback.”
“She had a lot of aces (nine), I’m just happy I was able to make it back.”