Formula E event shows world what Saudi Arabia is capable of: GSA chairman Prince Abdulaziz

1 / 3
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, speaking ahead of the new season. (Supplied: Diriyah Season)
2 / 3
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, speaking ahead of the new season. (Supplied: Diriyah Season)
3 / 3
Saudi Arabia hosted its first race in December last year and this year the event takes place on Nov. 22 and 23. (Supplied: Diriyah Season)
Updated 22 November 2019

Formula E event shows world what Saudi Arabia is capable of: GSA chairman Prince Abdulaziz

  • Chairman said Saudi Arabia can be a regional leader in promoting electronic motorsport
  • Saudi Arabia hosted its first race in December last year

RIYADH: The hosting of Formula E has been a turning point for Saudi Arabia and has shown what the Kingdom is capable of, according to the chairman of the General Sports Authority.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, speaking ahead of the new season of motor racing that features battery powered cars, said last year’s inaugural event in the Kingdom was a platform for other achievements in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform program.
“Last year was a turning point for Saudi Arabia on many levels, we saw women driving, movie theaters pop up and so much more,” he said.
“This all paved the way to host events such as Formula E, through this event, we launched the first tourist visas and welcomed 80 different nationalities to the Kingdom.”
Saudi Arabia was awarded the hosting rights for a stop on the Formula E championship last year.
The all-electric racing series, which began in 2014, aims to provide a platform for new technologies for electric vehicles.
Saudi Arabia hosted its first race in December last year and this year the event takes place on Nov. 22 and 23 at the Diriyah Circuit set inside a UNESCO World Heritage site in Riyadh.
“The whole world saw what we are capable of as a nation, remembering as well we were building it all from scratch,” Prince Abdulaziz said.
“The results showed that our capabilities exceeded not only the Middle East standards, but we also shined as one of the best Formula E rounds of the season.”
The chairman said Saudi Arabia can be a regional leader in promoting electronic motorsport.
“I think Saudi Arabia and Formula E benefit each other very well, the country provides a great platform for Formula E’s message of being eco (friendly) throughout the entire region,” he said.
“The Middle East is new to the concept of electric motorsport and the race in Diriyah helped amplify that message.”
The prince said the number of the tourists visiting the Kingdom for the event was good for the country, but was also pleased with interest in the sport from Saudis and its impact on the country.
“We have seen a rise in the number of tourists visiting Saudi Arabia for such events and our ambition is for the world to see Saudi as a welcoming destination for sports business and entertainment,” he said.
“The people in Saudi Arabia have embraced the sport rather quickly, and we have seen how the tickets sold out last year, the demand was much higher than the supply — this year we believe two rounds are adequate for the market.
“The benefits of hosting such events a numerous, we have seen an increase in job creation both directly and indirectly and these types of events are good in catalyzing the economy.”
The prince said Formula E is just a small part of the government’s sporting vision to inspire young Saudis. The Kingdom will host heavyweight boxing, tennis and golf events as well as the upcoming Saudi Cup horse race.
“Hopefully soon, we can also see Saudi citizens competing and becoming champions in each and everyone one of these sports,” he said.


Luis Suarez suspected of cheating on Italian exam

Updated 22 September 2020

Luis Suarez suspected of cheating on Italian exam

  • The Italian exam was a first step required in order to receive a passport ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus
  • Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan’s bid to get an Italian passport

ROME: Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is suspected of cheating to pass his Italian language test with the help of his teachers, the Perugia prosecutor’s department in charge of the investigation said on Tuesday.
The Italian exam was a first step required in order to receive a passport ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus.
“The investigation showed that the subjects discussed during the exam were agreed beforehand with the candidate and that the grade was awarded to him even before the test,” the prosecutor’s department said in a statement.
Local prosecutor Raffaele Cantone, a former head of Italy’s National Anti-Corruption Authority, had been carrying out an investigation since February into University for Foreigners officials over various irregularities. Suspicions over Suarez were aroused by an overheard conversation.
“But what do you think, that we’re going to fail him? Today I have the last lesson (with Suarez) and I have to prepare it because he barely speaks a word” of Italian, Stefania Spina, one of the people targeted by the investigation, is claimed to have said according to prosecution documents cited by Italian media.
Asked by a colleague what level Suarez “should pass” in Italian, Spina reportedly replied: “He should not, he must, he will pass, because with a salary of 10 million (euros) per season, you can’t make him fail” his exam, “even if he doesn’t know how to conjugate verbs and speak in the infinitive.”
Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said last week a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan’s bid to get an Italian passport.
The Italian champions cannot recruit Suarez otherwise because they have already reached their quota for non-EU players.