Saudi football teams denied neutral venues for Qatar clashes

Female supporters of Saudi’s Al-Hilal. The team is due to face Qatar’s Al Rayyan in Group D of the AFC Champions League beginning February 12. (Ali AL-ARIFI / AFP)
Updated 28 January 2018
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Saudi football teams denied neutral venues for Qatar clashes

KUALA LUMPUR: Saudi Arabian football teams will be required to play away matches in Qatar during the Asian Champions League despite the kingdom’s travel ban on its Gulf neighbor, Asia’s football governing body said Sunday.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) ruled all matches would be played on a home-and-away basis as planned, after Saudi Arabia had called for fixtures against Qatari teams to be shifted to a neutral country.
The ruling also means Saudi clubs must host Qatari teams for the return, home fixtures.
Since June last year Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, has adopted a diplomatic boycott of Qatar, accusing it of backing terrorism — a charge denied by Doha.
The Saudi-led coalition also imposed a ban on travel in and out of Qatar.
AFC said the decision to maintain the home-and-away format was made after an independent safety and security assessment was completed.
Saudi authorities previously insisted that their clubs would only play against Qatari sides on neutral territory amid reports they may boycott the tournament.
With the AFC ruling that “clubs from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should be played on a home and away basis in 2018 as per the AFC Regulations,” Saudi club football teams are due to travel to Qatar for away matches beginning next month.
AFC Secretary General Windsor John told AFP that Saudi Arabia has not lifted the travel ban imposed on its nationals against going to Qatar.
Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal have been placed with Qatar’s Al Rayyan in Group D of the AFC Champions League beginning February 12.
Qatar’s Al Sadd are in Group C along with the UAE’s Al Wasl, while in Group B Qatar’s Al Duhail are pitted against the UAE’s Al Wahda.
The AFC Asian Champions League is the top continental competition for football clubs in Asia.
Qatar is due to host the World Cup in 2022.


Saudi Arabia enjoy more golden success at Special Olympics

Updated 19 March 2019
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Saudi Arabia enjoy more golden success at Special Olympics

  • Kingdom's athletes claim three golds, one silver and three bronzes on day four in Abu Dhabi.
  • Saudi Arabia medal tally now up to an impressive 25.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia enjoyed another good day at the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi winning three golds, one silver and three bronzes to take their medal tally to an impressive 25 after four days.
Abdulaziz Alharthi got the day off to a great start in the pool, the 17-year-old from Jeddah picking up gold in the men’s 25m freestyle.
That was then followed up with the second gold of the day as Mohammed Alolayan powered home in the 5,000m. It was his second medal of the Games after he took home a bronze in the triathlon.
Moayed Aldarwish completed the hat-trick of golds coming home first in the 400m.


That was not the end of the success for the Kingdom as Fares Almateq and Naif Alshammari won silver in the men’s doubles table tennis. This was Fares’ second win of the week, having impressively won gold in the men’s singles event earlier.
Heba Shawli then became another multiple-medal winner when she took home the bronze in the softball throw event — she having won gold in the 25m run event.
Faisal Algosaibi and Faris Khouj, also part of the 4x100m freestyle relay team, each won bronze in their division of the 25m freestyle swimming.


Other winners of multiple medals include Hassan Alhadhariti, who won three golds and one silver in powerlifting; Sara Felemban and Jana Albeshri, who both won silver in bocce women’s singles and women’s team events, and Shahad Sunbul, who won silver in the bocce women’s team event and bronze in the bocce women’s singles event.