DiplomaticQuarter: Boosting international relations is the goal of new football tournament in Riyadh

The event aims to improve relations between the diplomatic communities.
Updated 06 September 2018
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DiplomaticQuarter: Boosting international relations is the goal of new football tournament in Riyadh

  • Diplomatic staff from more than 20 embassies are participating in the historic event, organized by the British Council.

RIYADH: The inaugural Diplomat’s Cup Football Tournament has kicked off in the capital, the latest event in this new era of sporting activities in Saudi Arabia. Diplomatic staff from more than 20 embassies are participating in the historic event, organized by the British Council.

Salman Qureshi of the British Council was the driving force of the international cultural initiative, with assisted by Ziyad Al-Obaidi, the tournament’s head organizer. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony held recently, Qureshi said that the event aims to improve relations between the diplomatic communities and support the Kingdom’s plans to expand and diversify all areas of socio-cultural life in line with Vision 2030, through the growth and inclusion of international entities in the Kingdom. 

John Pare, the British Council’s deputy director praised the initiative and the support of Sport Times, one of the event partners. The trophy that will be presented to the winners of the tournament was also unveiled during the opening ceremony.

Most of the diplomatic missions taking part in the tournament were represented at the ceremony and expressed their support for such social and cultural events, where people from a variety of national and cultural backgrounds can come together and learn more about each other.

The tournament is being hosted by Al Shabab Club. The participating embassies include the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Germany, France, Austria, South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, Mauritius, Azerbaijan, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. The British Council has also assembled a team.

The teams have been split into four groups for the first stage, with the top two in each qualifying for the knockout phase. The final and closing ceremony will be held later this month.


Big-screen business in Saudi Arabia will be billion-dollar industry by 2030

Saudi Arabia is expected to become a significant box office market. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2018
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Big-screen business in Saudi Arabia will be billion-dollar industry by 2030

  • Saudi has huge opportunities and is expected to become a significant box office market worth $1 billion (SR3.75 billion)

DUBAI: The big-screen business in Saudi Arabia will be a billion-dollar industry by 2030, according to experts, as regional and global movie operators queue up for a ticket into the Kingdom’s hugely profitable movie market.
Saudi Arabia is expected to amass the largest share of the cinema business in the Arabian Gulf region by 2030, with hundred of cinemas and thousands of screens set to open across the Kingdom over the next 12 years.
Within months of Saudi Arabia formally ending a 35-year-long ban on cinemas, three cinema operation licenses were awarded to operate in the Kingdom, the first was to AMC Theaters, an American chain owned and operated by Wanda Group. It opened the Kingdom’s first modern cinema on April 18 and plans to open around 40 cinemas in 15 cities in Saudi Arabia over the next five years, and between 50 to 100 cinemas in about 25 cities by 2030.
Shortly after, the second license was awarded to VOX Cinemas, now one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest movie operators. It plans to open 600 screens in Saudi Arabia in the next five years, the same number of screens as the company’s regional footprint combined.
In July, it was announced the the third license had been awarded to the Al-Rashed United Group — Empire Cinema — which plans to build 30 theaters in the country over the next three years. And last month, a fourth license was awarded to Lux Entertainment Co., which plans to open 300 cinemas across the Kingdom within five years.
VOX, which plans to open 80 new screens over the next 12 months, says the Kingdom will form half of its overall revenues in the Middle East over the next five years.
“Saudi has huge opportunities and is expected to become a significant box office market worth $1 billion (SR3.75 billion),” said Cameron Mitchell, CEO of Majid Al-Futtaim Cinemas, of which VOX Cinemas is a subsidiary.
He said the Kingdom’s box-office market is expected to become “one of the largest” in the world, with a majority of its 32-million population under the age of 30. “The market is massive and full of opportunities as the population is young and enthusiastic about cinema.”
Will Saudi Arabia ever host the world premiere of a Hollywood movie? No one’s saying right now, but with such a covetable box-office market, it may only be a matter of time.