Future of sport in Saudi Arabia ‘depends on the public’

Princess Reema bint Bandar, president of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports, responds to CNN anchor Becky Anderson during the event in Jeddah. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 30 April 2018

Future of sport in Saudi Arabia ‘depends on the public’

  • The development of sport in the Kingdom requires a sustainable ecosystem that includes private-sector participation and the support of the population at large: Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki bin Faisal
  • Princess Reema said that the GSA plays an essential role not only encouraging people to have fun in sport but also to improving levels of health and well-being in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The development of sport in the Kingdom requires a sustainable ecosystem that includes private-sector participation and the support of the population at large, said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki bin Faisal, deputy chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA).

The prince was speaking during an event at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club at King Abdullah Economic City on Sunday.

The key discussion on harnessing the power of sports in the Kingdom was held as part of the opening celebration of the Royal Greens club. 

In a wide-ranging conversation, moderated by CNN anchor Becky Anderson, panelists including Princess Reema bin Bandar, president of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports; Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Maritime Sports and Diving Federation; and Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal, president of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation. 

They were joined by world champion golfer Ernie Els and European Tour CEO Keith Pelley.

Prince Abdul Aziz praised the leaders of the federations for expanding the role of sport in Saudi Arabia.

Princess Reema said that the GSA plays an essential role not only encouraging people to have fun in sport but also to improving levels of health and well-being in the nation.

She encouraged the private sector to invest not just in new sports facilities but also in training academies, human capital development and other elements of the sporting ecosystem.

The forum also discussed the role of the private sector in developing sport in the Kingdom and agreed that while it has historically played an important role at a professional level, more could be done at a grassroots level to encourage people to take up a sport.

Prince Abdul Aziz said: “Vision 2030 is about catching up. We do not want to be caught out. This is why we have unlimited support from the king and the crown prince to move forward.”

The prince told Arab News: “We are aware of risks in terms of the spending on these federations. We do not recognize it as a loss. In my career in car racing, I raced under Bahrain’s flag. We want to have an umbrella for all sports so they can be played under the Saudi flag.”

Princes Reema said: “It is not only the actual games that we care about; we care about the tools sold, the shops around the playground and all other cultural and economical factors related to them.”


First pilgrims leave under Eyab initiative

Updated 18 August 2019

First pilgrims leave under Eyab initiative

  • Al-Amoudi toured the exhibition dedicated to welcome Eyab’s beneficiaries

Saudi Minister of Transport and Chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Dr. Nabeel Al-Amoudi, oversaw the departure of the first 

group of pilgrims under the Eyab initiative on Saturday together with GACA President Abdulhadi bin Ahmed Al-Mansouri.

Eyab seeks to improve services provided to pilgrims, with the authority aiming to enrich pilgrims’ experience at the Kingdom’s airports. It is expected to benefit 30,000 pilgrims during this year’s Hajj season.

Al-Amoudi toured the exhibition dedicated to welcome Eyab’s beneficiaries, inspected the services available and received a briefing from the initiative’s officials.

GACA started an experimental implementation of Eyab this year, aimed at pilgrims returning to Indonesia, India and Malaysia through Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport and Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Airport.