Golf gets on a roll in Saudi Arabia

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A participant tries his hand at SNAG. (Photos/Supplied)
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Participants pose for a group photo with their certificates. (Photos/Supplied)
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Updated 13 February 2020

Golf gets on a roll in Saudi Arabia

  • SNAG is the brainchild of former US PGA Tour professional Terry Antondan

RIYADH: Golf Saudi this week saw the rollout of the innovative Starting New At Golf certification program in Riyadh.

Better known as SNAG, the program includes all the basics of golf, helping to teach beginners and build up their skills. SNAG has become popular globally, as it can be played both indoors and outdoors, ensuring anyone can learn, anyone can play and anyone can teach golf.

Taking place this week at Riyadh Golf Courses, the level one and level two certification programs were delivered to 28 people, with all 28 participants being fully certified. As part of the final session, all certified SNAG coaches delivered sessions (as the concluding part of the certification process) to schoolchildren at the Tadrees’ Dar Al-Baraah National School in Riyadh.

Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said: “We have identified SNAG as the key platform for the early stages of Golf Saudi’s ‘Get into Golf’ schools program, which focuses on introducing golf at grassroots level to non-golfing Saudi children.”

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The innovative Starting New At Golf certification program, better known as SNAG, includes all the basics of golf, helping to teach beginners and build up their skills.

Al-Sorour continued: “Mass participation forms one of Golf Saudi’s key pillars, with the aim of introducing, educating and entertaining citizens about golf, particularly young people. Our view is that when children play a sport, if they have fun, it is far more likely that they are going to come back, pursue it and potentially become future golfers.”

SNAG is the brainchild of former US PGA Tour professional Terry Anton and the program ensures golf is easy to learn, thanks to its colorful, portable and easy-to-use equipment, presenting the game’s rules in a simple fashion. There has never been a system dedicated to the development of new players that is both easy to teach and learn, until SNAG. Once the program has become a proven learning and training system and begins to expand, Golf Saudi will then scale it up.

To oversee its development, a number of attendees from Golf Saudi were present during the three days, including: Steven Troup, director of instruction; Bouchaib Al-Jadiani, head of mass participation; Theo Potgieter, golf operations manager; Rawan Al-Salim, program manager; and Razan Al-Hussain, communications officer. There were also four physical education teachers from the Tadrees’ Dar Al-Baraah National School and 19 attendees from local golf clubs in Riyadh, including Riyadh Greens, Nofa Resorts, Intercontinental and Dirab Golf Club.

Zouhaier Jebri, the PGA professional from Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, was also in attendance. Trainer Jordan Lawrence, who delivered this week’s sessions, has considerable experience with SNAG programs in inner city communities and school groups, and he was impressed by what he saw during the three days.

“I am very pleased how this week’s upbeat SNAG sessions went and how well they were received by both the teachers and schoolchildren. This program is the first step in transitioning non-golfers to the golf course in a fun, safe and engaging way. This week has demonstrated that SNAG is the perfect starting place for any child on their future journey to becoming a golfer,” said Lawrence.

“This week’s first SNAG certification program has been delivered to the group of local golf coaches, golf club staff and physical education teachers for the purpose of creating a nationwide network of knowledgeable, skilled grassroots coaches, which is in turn adding to Golf Saudi’s Mass Participation pillar.”


Manchester City’s European ban quashed on appeal

Updated 13 July 2020

Manchester City’s European ban quashed on appeal

  • Initial fine of $34 million was also reduced to $11.3 million on appeal

LAUSANNE: Manchester City will be free to play Champions League football next season after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) lifted a two-season ban from European competitions imposed by UEFA on Monday.
An initial fine of $34 million was also reduced to $11.3 million on appeal.
City were accused of deliberately inflating the value of income from sponsors with links to the Abu Dhabi United Group, also owned by City owner Sheikh Mansour, to avoid falling foul of financial fair play (FFP) regulations between 2012 and 2016.
The case against City was reopened when German magazine Der Spiegel published a series of leaked emails in 2018.
However, CAS found that “most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB (UEFA Club Financial Control Body) were either not established or time-barred.”
City welcomed the decision that will have huge ramifications on the club’s finances and potentially the future of manager Pep Guardiola and star players such as Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.
“Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisers are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present,” City said in a statement.
“The club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.”
Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover 12 years ago, City’s fortunes have been transformed from perennially living in the shadow of local rivals Manchester United to winning four Premier League titles in the past eight years among 11 major trophies.
On Saturday, they secured qualification for the Champions League for a 10th consecutive season with a 5-0 win at Brighton.
More silverware could come before the end of the season as Guardiola’s side face Arsenal in the FA Cup semifinals on Saturday before restarting their Champions League campaign in August, holding a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid from the first leg of their last 16 tie.
City’s victory in court will raise fresh questions over how effectively UEFA can police FFP.
But European football’s governing body said it remained committed to the system which limits clubs to not losing more than 30 million euros, with exceptions for some costs such as youth development and women’s teams, over a three-year period.
“UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the five-year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations,” UEFA said in a statement.
“Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA remain committed to its principles.”