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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.