Saudi Arabia to host first pro golf tournament

The Royal Greens Golf Club at the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia. (Courtesy: KAEC website)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Saudi Arabia to host first pro golf tournament

PARIS: Saudi Arabia will stage its first European Tour golf event in 2019 as the kingdom opens its doors a little more to professional sport, it was announced on Thursday.
The tournament, the first in a three-year partnership, will take place from January 31 to February 3, 2019, and will be staged at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City on the Red Sea coastline.
Plans were finalized this week during the visit to London of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the man seen as the oil-rich country’s key driver of reform.
“We are very excited to be talking the first steps toward bringing professional golf to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time and I must thank His Royal Majesty, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for his vision in making this happen,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.
The new Saudi tournament will form part of the early season Gulf desert swing which already includes tournaments in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Qatar and Oman.
“I hope that this event will inspire more Saudis to take up the game and show that, as a nation, we can host sporting events of this calibre,” said Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, the president of the Saudi Arabian Golf Federation.
Saudi Arabia has witnessed a number of steps forward in sports organization this year with a first-ever professional women’s squash tournament staged in Riyadh and women allowed into stadiums to watch local league football matches.


FIFA bans African soccer official for taking cash from Qatar's bin Hammam

Updated 18 December 2018
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FIFA bans African soccer official for taking cash from Qatar's bin Hammam

ZURICH: FIFA ethics judges have imposed a four-year ban on African soccer official Seedy Kinteh for taking cash gifts from former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar.
FIFA says its ethics committee found Kinteh guilty on charges of bribery and corruption, and accepting gifts. He was fined 200,000 Swiss francs ($202,000).
Kinteh was named in a 2014 investigation report by FIFA’s then-ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia for taking payments totaling $69,396 from Bin Hammam from February 2010 to April 2011.
Then, Kinteh was president of Gambia’s soccer federation and Bin Hammam was a potential then actual candidate for the FIFA presidency.
Bin Hammam was suspended in 2011 days before the election against then-president Sepp Blatter after being implicated in bribing Caribbean voters.