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.


Spanish players union vetoes plans for La Liga game in Miami

Updated 24 September 2018
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Spanish players union vetoes plans for La Liga game in Miami

  • Real Madrid President Florentino Perez said Sunday his club would refuse to play the game
  • Barcelona and Girona have said they are in favor of the idea of playing in Miami on January 26

MADRID: The Spanish players union (AFE) on Monday rejected plans by La Liga to stage a regular-season game in the United States, following a similar refusal by the Spanish football federation (RFEF).
An AFE statement said La Liga had not responded to questions about the planned game between Girona and Barcelona in Miami. It said that “faced with a lack of information” it opposed the game taking place.
On Friday, the RFEF expressed its formal opposition to moving the game from Girona to the United States.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has also expressed doubts about the move.
The sharp refusal by the AFE, which had already indicated concern over the health risks to players of such a trip, is a new blow for La Liga, which argues that the initiative will expand its international audience.
Real Madrid President Florentino Perez said Sunday his club would refuse to play a Spanish League game in the United States.
For their part, Barcelona and Girona have said they are in favor of the idea of playing in Miami on January 26.