JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first Women’s Football League (WFL) will play an important role in Sports for All Federation’s (SFA) goal of integrating women into the Kingdom’s sports scene, said SFA President, Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud.
With preparations underway after the conclusion of registrations on Sept. 30, Prince Khaled told Arab News about the SFA’s expectations and hopes for the tournament.
“The WFL gives women the opportunity of sport upskilling, which we see as a very important part of strengthening our healthy and active community and the country’s sports ecosystem as a whole,” he said.
The SFA president views WFL as a step closer to fulfilling the SFA’s goal of getting 40 percent of society to become active by 2030. “What else can they (audiences) expect? Good, strong, fair games played by our athletes from all over the Kingdom,” he said.
Prince Khaled said that the SFA shared the sentiment of the active and health-driven segment of society about the WFL.
“Excitement, pride, and a sense of accomplishment — the public is already invested in seeing women and girls live healthy and active lives through participation in all types of sports,” he said. “People across Saudi want to see everyone included in sports, regardless of age or capability or being female or male. Championships for any sport and any athletic pursuit is a great morale builder for the public as a whole, and is an inspirational thing to see.”
As for the SFA’s expectations of the first women’s football league, Prince Khaled said that when women joined the league they were “advocating for others to join,” as well as promoting wellness, health, fitness, inclusivity and building achievements.
The WFL has been closely supported by the Ministry of Sports, the SFA president said. He also credited those working under the Quality of Life program for their support. “The team at Quality of Life really do want to see each and every woman in Saudi be given the opportunity to pursue their passions for sports and wellness as part of our collective work toward making Vision 2030 a reality,” he said.
The Quality of Life program aims to increase the public’s participation in sports, and for them to contend in professional events regionally and globally, and create entertainment opportunities that cater to their needs by 2030.
Meanwhile, many popular women’s football teams are expected to participate in the league, including Jeddah Eagles, Miraas and Kings United.
The WFL was announced in February, but faced delays due to the pandemic. A date is yet to be announced.