Privatization of sports clubs welcomed to bring quality shift in Saudi sports

Updated 23 November 2016

Privatization of sports clubs welcomed to bring quality shift in Saudi sports

RIYADH: The Cabinet decision approving privatization of sports clubs in the Kingdom enthused sports lovers, analysts and businessmen alike, as they welcomed the decision on Tuesday, which they described as a good move to bring a quality shift in Saudi sports, and promote more sports clubs.
The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman here on Monday, approved the privatization of premier football league clubs. The General Authority for Sports will stipulate the regulations and conditions governing how these sports companies will carry out their activities.
Moreover, it approved formation of a committee to supervise the completion of the club privatization stages, to be headed by the president of the General Authority for Sports, and members comprising the deputy minister of economy and planning, commerce undersecretary for systems and regulations, in addition to representatives of the Finance Ministry, the Saudi Arabian Football Association, and the Professional League Association.
Majed Abdullah Al Hedayan, legal affairs in-charge at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Arab News, “With this decision we are assured of a way of switching sports institutions of full reliability to professionalism, more competitive sports, and a better future of sports organizations to create internal investment opportunities, contribute to the creation of permanent jobs, and help to stimulate physical activity and creativity to achieve sustainable development in sports to meet the public’s aspirations and expectations.”
He said sports clubs have been given considerable attention in recent years, and attempts were made to revive these institutions, enhancing their role in society, which, unfortunately, did not keep pace with the required progress at the national level, as they were not commensurate with the needs of young people, who represent a large proportion of our society.
Abdurrahman Inayat, a sports enthusiast, said sports and entertainment form an important part of the Vision 2030, as the ambitious plan asserts that the two aspects represent the main pillars of a quality life; therefore, the government pledges to provide a rich experience and reach the citizen’s expectations. This decision would encourage the sports sector, and allow it to contribute to the national economy and help diversify income sources with the private sector, he added.
Commenting on the decision, Fawwaz bin Khairi Al-Hakami, an associate professor for sports sciences at King Saud University, said that the Cabinet decision is a mega-stimulus for investment as it copes with the economic diversification drive contained in Vision 2030. It is expected that private investment in sports clubs will generate thousands of jobs, he added.
Salman Al-Malik, of the Saudi Arabian Football Association, told local media that the privatization decision was a positive step and a quality leap for sports in the Kingdom. The privatization move is a historic decision that will positively be reflected on sports clubs, in particular, and sports, in general, he added.
Appreciating the decision, sports investors speaking on local TV went on to suggest that an inventory of assets of the sports clubs should be made before the privatization process.


Vardy hits double in Leicester’s 8th straight victory

Updated 09 December 2019

Vardy hits double in Leicester’s 8th straight victory

  • Leicester takes the second-place team within eight points of Liverpool

BIRMINGHAM: Jamie Vardy scored for an eighth straight game for Premier League high-flyer Leicester on Sunday with a double in a 4-1 dismantling of Aston Villa.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans also scored to help Leicester set a new club record of eight consecutive top-flight wins and take the second-place team within eight points of Liverpool.

Jack Grealish did make it 2-1 just before the break but the Foxes were rarely in danger.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are 14 points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United in the pursuit of Champions League qualification.

“We are up there, we are challenging and playing well,” Evans told broadcaster Sky Sports. “Probably now, today, I think people are starting to talk more about that.

“Coming away from Villa with a really good performance, I think that’s the best Villa team we have played against for quite a while and we had to grind it out and it shows we are capable of getting good results.”

By contrast, Villa is only out of the relegation zone on goal difference after slipping to a fifth defeat in seven games.

Villa was wide open and Leicester should have taken the lead after 10 minutes.

Caglar Soyuncu knocked James Maddison’s deep free-kick back for Evans, who could only shoot straight at goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

Immediately, Villa broke to spurn their own golden chance when Matt Targett crossed for Anwar El Ghazi to hit the bar from six yards. With the chance went Villa’s early hopes and they swiftly lost any grip of the game when Vardy continued his scoring streak in the 20th minute.

Wesley lost the ball and the lively Iheanacho slipped the striker in to race clear and round Heaton. Vardy miscued his kick when preparing to shoot but recovered to tap in, despite Konsa’s efforts on the line.

Vardy is now just three games away from equalling his own Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive games.

Villa’s problems were partly of their own making with center back Tyrone Mings unable to cover having already suffered a hamstring injury and the defender was immediately replaced by Bjorn Engels.

Villa could not handle Vardy’s pace and Iheanacho’s movement.

There was a touch of fortune but Leicester deserved to double its lead in the 41st when Maddison crossed and Iheanacho diverted in at the near post.

The Foxes were cruising but Grealish pulled a goal back in first-half injury time when he curled in from 16 yards after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Leicester, though, wasted no time in restoring their two-goal lead four minutes after the break.