Football fans see red after virus leads to match bans in Saudi Arabia

All matches will be played behind closed doors following the Saudi Ministry of Sport’s decision. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 08 March 2020

Football fans see red after virus leads to match bans in Saudi Arabia

  • The decision brought a mixed reaction from football supporters and sports personalities

JEDDAH: Saudi football fans have expressed dismay at a nationwide ban on public attendance at sports events, including the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Cup, over coronavirus fears.
All matches, along with other sports competitions, will be played behind closed doors following the Saudi Ministry of Sport’s decision.
After the ministry directive, local clubs issued a memo to fans not to attend any sporting events starting March 7.
Rajallah Al-Sulami, deputy minister of sports for media affairs, said on Twitter that the decision is aimed at ensuring “responsible behavior.”
“The decision to suspend mass attendance at sports competitions is consistent with the precautionary measures taken by the Saudi government from the first moment of the virus’ spread,” he said.
Fahad Al-Zahrani, sports analyst and former Al-Ahli football club manager, said: “It’s hard to imagine stadiums without fans. But, obviously, they’re doing it now in Saudi Arabia and it’s something we’re probably going to face anyway.”
He added: “We have a passion for football in Saudi Arabia, and it is breathtaking for all, but when people’s lives are at stake, we have to listen to the authorities.”

FASTFACT

The global spread of the virus is having a growing impact on the world of sport, including the biggest football tournament in Europe, the UEFA Champions League.

The decision brought a mixed reaction from football supporters and sports personalities.
Football fan Ahmed Al-Shimmari said: “We have to accept the decisions that come from above, knowing that we have a serious problem.”
Another fan, Saad Al-Shehri, said: “Football is about its fans, its enthusiasm and passion. I don’t think it is going to be the same when you play behind closed doors. Football without fans is boring.”
Cancellations would leave local clubs facing losses of million of riyals.
Fahad Al-Bugami, an economic analyst and editor in chief of Almustahlik (consumer) online newspaper, said the ban will hit companies working in the sports sector.
Stadiums in the Kingdom can accommodate up to 40,000 fans, who spend up to twice the value of their tickets on food, drinks and souvenirs. “Fans’ attendance is a major economic factor for stadiums,” he added.


KSRelief-backed Al-Amal Arsal Center continues to provide medical services to Syrian refugees

Updated 07 June 2020

KSRelief-backed Al-Amal Arsal Center continues to provide medical services to Syrian refugees

ARSAL, Lebanon:  The Al-Amal Medical Center in Lebanon’s Bekaa governorate continued to provide medical services to Syrian refugees with the support of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief).

It is part of a project to strengthen health services for Syrian refugees and the host community in the town of Arsal.

In May, 4,575 patients visited the clinics and received 8,123 free health services across specialized departments, in addition to receiving help from laboratory, pharmacy and nursing services.

General health clinics received 396 patients, eye clinics had 506 patients, the emergency department 595 patients, dental clinics 325 patients, pediatric clinics saw 347 patients, with 125 vaccinations provided.

ENT clinics received 412 patients, orthopedic clinics 311 patients, heart clinics had 240 patients, urology clinics 472 patients, gastroenterology clinics 180 patients, gynecological clinics 271 patients, gland and diabetes clinics 65 patients, and psychiatric clinics 68 patients.

The Al-Amal Medical Center is following the necessary procedures and precautions in light of the coronavirus pandemic to provide services to patients in a safe medical environment.

Awareness campaigns were carried out to familiarize people with precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease, and they were provided with items for personal hygiene.

The medical director of the project, Dr. Tariq Shandab, said that the center aimed to serve more than 45,000 people and provide them with healthcare in a variety of fields, in addition to having an emergency department that worked around the clock and an integrated pharmacy to provide free medicine to all patients.

Shandab expressed his gratitude for the humanitarian services provided by Saudi Arabia, represented by KSRelief, to the Syrian refugees and their host community.