Online charity football game gains support from global stars

Turki Al-Shaikh (left) and Saud Al-Suwailem. (Supplied photo)
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Updated 21 May 2020

Online charity football game gains support from global stars

JEDDAH: Football stars from across the world have been voicing their support for a charitable Playstation football match between the former president of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nasr FC, Saud Al-Suwailem, and head of the Kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority Turki Al-Shaikh.

Al-Shaikh responded to Al-Suwailem’s initial challenge by saying he would participate with his team, Almeria, and donate SR1 million to the recently launched Jood Eskan platform, provided the game was broadcast live on the 29th day of Ramadan.

Jood Eskan was launched on May 16 by the Saudi Ministry of Sports and Saudi Ministry of Housing. One of its competitions is the Jood League, in which participants from teams in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman League compete against each other in a tournament which collects charitable contributions to provide housing for families in need.

Within hours of Al-Shaikh accepting the challenge, football stars from around the world took to social media to support the venture.

Brazil’s former captain Cafu said he would be supporting Al-Shaikh, as did retired Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who warned the GEA Chairman to choose wisely, saying, “If your Almeria goalkeeper is not as good as me, you will lose the match, my friend.”

Support for Al-Shaikh also came from Argentinian legend Lionel Messi, former France and Manchester United striker Louis Saha, and former Dutch international Patrick Kluivert.

But there was a lot of love for Al-Nasr FC too, with former Brazil and Real Madrid defender Roberto Carlos revealing his choice saying, “Sheikh Saud, Roberto Carlos speaking, I’m with Al-Nasr. Ciao.”

Juventus center back Leonardo Bonucci asked if Al-Suwailem was ready in a video posted to the former Al-Nasr president’s page, while teammates Paulo Dybala and Claudio Marchisio also offered messages of support for Al-Suwailem’s team: “Forca Al-Nasr.”

“Sheikh Turki, try to win the Playstation game without a red card, my friend,” said Italian defender Marco Materazzi, recalling the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final against France where he scored a goal for Italy before being headbutted by French captain Zinedine Zidane, who received a red card for his actions.

Saudi Arabia could return to extreme precautionary restrictions, minister warns

Penalties will be doubled upon repetition of the violation. (SPA)
Updated 42 min 47 sec ago

Saudi Arabia could return to extreme precautionary restrictions, minister warns

  • People not wearing masks will be fined

JEDDAH: The Kingdom could return to extreme precautionary restrictions if the number of COVID-19 patients exceeds the medical sector’s capacity, Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah warned on Saturday.

“Public awareness and adherence to precautionary measures is essential to continue the ease of restrictions,” Al-Rabiah told Al-Arabiya on Saturday. “We continue monitoring the situation based on the number of critical cases in hospitals and their capacity to receive them. We want to be able to receive all cases that reach out to us and provide them with the care that they need. We are all in one boat in this situation, we are one team, and we must work together cautiously. Lack of commitment will definitely take us back to where we were.”

The minister expressed his concern about overcrowding in some public places during the Eid holidays, adding that while crowds were likely at the initial phase of the ‘unlock’ he remained optimistic about the public’s awareness level.

The minister said that although children were the least likely to be infected they could carry the virus without symptoms. He advised families to keep children away from elderly members of their families such as grandparents.

There were 1,618 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning that 83,384 people have now contracted the disease. There are currently 24,501 active cases.

The Health Ministry announced that 1,870 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 58,883. More than 70 percent of coronavirus patients in the Kingdom have recovered from the disease.

There were 22 new COVID-19-related deaths reported on Saturday, raising the total number of fatalities to 480.

The ministry has assigned 30 health practitioners to carry out the third stage of an expanded examination plan to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in the city of Makkah.


• 58,883 recoveries

• 24,501 active cases

The examination will take place at a center in the Al-Zaidi district, where citizens and expats will be tested inside their cars through 12 tracks without the need to leave their vehicles. The center has the capacity for over 1,000 tests daily and these will be carried out through appointments made on the ministry’s Sehaty app.

Adjustments to previously announced social-distancing measures and regulations were announced by the Saudi Interior Ministry on Saturday. These include new violation penalties, as the second stage of restriction-easing starts on May 31.

Individuals who intentionally violate regulations will pay SR1,000 ($266). Breaches include not wearing a mask, not committing to social distancing marks and areas, refusing to undergo temperature checks at entrances, or not adhering to preventive protocols if their temperature is higher than 38 degrees Celsius.

The ministry amended the maximum number of people allowed for social gatherings inside homes, rest houses, farms, or in social events such as funerals and parties to 50 people.

Private sector establishments that are found to be non-compliant with new preventive measures and protocols will pay a penalty of SR10,000.

This penalty covers violations such as admitting entry to individuals not wearing medical or cloth masks, lack of disinfectants and sterilizers, not checking employee and customer temperatures at entrances, lack of sterilization on shopping facilities, cart surfaces and shopping baskets after each use, as well as opening fitting rooms and children’s play areas.
Penalties will be doubled upon repetition of the violation.