Saudi Arabia’s football federation appoints first women board members

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Adwa Al-Arifi, who was previously a SAFF committee member, joins Reham Al-Onaizan, who brings rich experience in planning and project management from the private sector, on the board. (Supplied)
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Adwa Al-Arifi (left) with the new president of SAFF Quassay Alfawaz. (SAFF)
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SAFF president Quassay Alfawaz. (SAFF)
Updated 06 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s football federation appoints first women board members

  • Adwa Al-Arifi, who was previously a SAFF committee member, joins Reham Al-Onaizan on the board
  • Quassay Alfawaz was elected as SAFF’s president at the King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh on Wednesday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Football Federation (SAFF) has appointed two women to its board of directors for the first time in its history, and also named a new president.
Adwa Al-Arifi, who was previously a SAFF committee member, joins Reham Al-Onaizan, who brings rich experience in planning and project management from the private sector, on the board.
Football is one of the most popular and fastest-growing sports for women in Saudi Arabia, particularly after stadiums were opened to women to become more family-friendly with tens of thousands flocking to watch the action since.
Al-Arifi said: “Football in Saudi Arabia has always unified us as families behind TV screens, and now inside stadiums, to support our clubs and national teams who made us happy and proud for years. It is such an honor to be able to serve the youth and families of Saudi Arabia through football.
“For us, football is more than a sport, it’s a rich cultural activity that brings us all together.”

Adwa Al-Arifi (left) with the new president of SAFF Quassay Alfawaz. (SAFF)


Quassay Alfawaz was elected as SAFF’s president at the King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh on Wednesday, and he revealed big plans for the development of Saudi Arabian football.
Speaking at SAFF’s annual general assembly, he said his goals for Saudi Arabian football in his first term – which runs until 2022 – are doubling the number of football players in the country, improving the ranking of the Saudi national team to 40th in the world (up from 70th).
He told the meeting: “We are confident about the situation of our national team before the Asian Cup tournament, we will be preparing our team to achieve the best possible results. We believe that our football has the right capabilities to reach a global stage.”
Alfawaz said he plans to send more players from the Kingdom to strong foreign leagues, a move which began to happen in 2018, and to place the Saudi Pro League – this year named the MBS League — among the top 10 in the world. His ambitious program, called ‘The Rise of Saudi Football’, will also see an increase in the number of national coaches and the recruitment of specialized scouts to discover more raw talent in Saudi Arabia.
He told delegates his plan is inspired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 program.

SAFF president Quassay Alfawaz. (SAFF)


As part of his team to improve football, Alfawaz will be joined by Roger Draper, the former Chief Executive of Sport England from 2003 to 2006 and the Lawn Tennis Association from 2006 to 2013.
In his time at Sport England, Draper had overall accountability for business turnover of £340m and was involved in London’s 2012 Olympic bid, and the Wembley National Stadium construction project.
Alfawaz said: “Foreign expertise is essential, and Roger Draper has rich experience in the English Premier League managing several sports projects. We will benefit from his experience.”


‘My feelings? Mixed’: Sebastian Vettel clings on in desperate Lewis Hamilton pursuit as Kimi Raikonnen wins US Grand Prix

Updated 22 October 2018
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‘My feelings? Mixed’: Sebastian Vettel clings on in desperate Lewis Hamilton pursuit as Kimi Raikonnen wins US Grand Prix

AUSTIN: Sebastian Vettel said he felt mixed emotions after keeping his slender title challenge alive by finishing fourth in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, won by Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
The four-time champion, who started fifth on the grid after taking a three-place penalty, recovered from an opening lap spin to fight through the field in a tactical contest that left Lewis Hamilton frustrated in his bid to clinch his fifth drivers world title.
“My feelings? Mixed,” he said. “Happy. Really happy for Kimi. But not much for me. It should have been a better day.”
Vettel can only stop Hamilton taking his fifth drivers title next weekend in Mexico by winning the race and hoping Hamilton hits problems that keep him out of the top seven places.
He said he suffered a major blow when he clashed with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap.
“I must have been in his blind spot. I’m not sure he saw me. The corner kept tightening and we hit. It was a big loss for me.”
Vettel’s disappointment took nothing away from a resurgent Ferrari’s satisfaction in recovering their mid-season pace, after abandoning several recent upgrades, and claiming a revitalising victory.
“I am very proud of them all,” said Ferrari team chief Maurizio Arrivabene.
“I was always proud of the guys and even more when we are winning races. It’s been hard for us recently and we had a race engineer pass away last weekend.... I have nothing more to add. It was great today. Thank you USA!“
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff admitted that Ferrari had been faster than his team, as he had feared.
“We lacked the pace and I said don’t close it too early. They are very fast. Kimi winning is great for him and for Ferrari, so let’s go to the next race in Mexico now.
“It was difficult to overtake, but for us it was a strategy that got worse as it progressed. We need to re-think and see what we can do better. We put on a good show altogether and that’s what’s more important.”