JEDDAH: The General Sports Authority (GSA) revealed “a new chapter for sports in Saudi Arabia” at a press conference on Saturday, crediting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his “limitless” support.
The GSA’s new strategy has been developed “after careful study with prominent international experts, and with the help of federations around the world, to reach our desired goals,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, president of the GSA, revealed.
“What our clubs currently lack from our strategy is governance, and they have a huge financial deficit, and are not activating other types of sports, and have an unsustainable future,” he said.
“We have 170 clubs today, participating in 22 sports and in 56 active federations. Seventy-nine clubs participate in four-to-five different sports, and only five clubs participate in more than 12 sports.
Our goal is to implement an effective governance system that supports and maintains the clubs, increases the level of competitiveness across all sports, organizes the financial process and creates a flourishing sports economy.”
Al-Faisal explained that the government has allocated SR2.5 billion ($667 million) to the new project, and announced that the country’s professional sports leagues would each receive SR50 million, with an additional SR10 million “related to the development of club facilities.”
He also stressed that the GSA’s strategy is not focused solely on football.
“Sports means all sports,” he said. “This step is the first stage to support and activate these sports before the announcement of the strategies that are special to the federations. The system to support different sports has a specialized SR480 million (dedicated to it).”
Al-Faisal also revealed that a “unified points system” had been used to measure the popularity of various sports, which were then ranked in two categories. Volleyball, basketball, handball, tennis and athletics are included in the first category, while karate, cycling, table tennis, swimming and taekwondo are included in the second.