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Kingdom’s sports authority chief announces major revamp on Saudi football

Turki Al-Asheikh
JEDDAH: President of the General Sports Authority (GSA) Turki Al-Asheikh has announced a series of historic decisions concerning Saudi football.
In a press conference at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on Tuesday, Al-Asheikh announced the cancelation of the “Crown Prince Cup” which was launched 60 years ago.
He also announced the opening of pending sports files, including stalled and delayed projects.
Al-Asheikh recalled what has been repeatedly been said by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that “whoever is corrupt will not escape penalty,” indicating that the Saudi sports is moving into a new era.
According to the new decisions, the Crown Prince Cup will be renamed “Super Cup,” the “First Class Tournament” will become the “Prince Faisal bin Fahd Tournament,” and the “Abdulatif Jameel Tournament” re-named the “Saudi Professional Players Tournament.”
Al-Asheikh also announced that the financial reward of the winner of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup was raised to SR10 million ($2,666,525) from SR5.5 million.
Other decisions dealt with the improvement of stadium environments; the numbering of seats and linking them to electronic tickets; the allocation of scholarship training programs for local football trainers according to strict criteria; and the payment of all arrears to referees.
Working in this direction, the GSA announced the formation of a committee to look for young talent among residents, and groom them into soccer stars.
The committee, to be affiliated with the office of the GSA president, comprises five members: Mihaisin Al-Jamaan, Fouad Anwar, Hamza Idris, Nawwaf Al-Timyat and Mohammed Shiliya.
Members of the committee were scheduled to hold meeting with the GSA chief on Tuesday in the presence of Adel Izzat, president of Saudi Arabian Football Association.
According to the GSA, the committee will undertake its mission from Tuesday until Friday.
In the search for talented footballers, the committee will receive potential players from different parts of the Kingdom, notably residents who were born in the Kingdom but are not Saudi nationals.
Those born in the Kingdom, between 18-28 years, will have a fair chance to meet the committee and demonstrate their talents as they will be subjected to strict tests including physical and football skills.
The committee members will meet candidates between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. within these four days in the alternate stadium at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.
The candidates should submit their ID documents to register their candidature.
The sport initiative reportedly comes among a series of executive procedures to benefit from Kingdom-born talented youths in a manner that will expand the talent base and options to serve the future of Saudi football.

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