RIYADH: Reem Khalid Al-Zamil, the first-ever female board member at Al-Shabab Football Club, believes that women attaining similar positions should no longer be seen as unusual, adding that Saudi women today are empowered in all fields thanks to the government of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
She thanked Minister of Sports Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal and President of the Al-Shabab Football Club Khalid Al-Baltan for placing their trust in her.
Al-Zamil is a management professional with over 16 years of experience in strategy formulation, PMO set up, E-services and digital platforms, and above all is interested in youth development and working toward a digital economy.
Last month, the Saudi Ministry of Sports approved Al-Zamil’s appointment as a board member of Al-Shabab, a team enjoying a hugely successful Saudi Professional League season in which they are second only to champions Al-Hilal on goal difference.
“Al-Shabab recently launched a strategy, identifying a number of goals it seeks to achieve,” Al-Zamil said. “The goals were translated into several projects. The club has achieved significant accomplishments and is being managed in the same way as a corporation. It aims to be iconic in terms of investment and corporate social responsibility, in addition to its role in sports.”
Al-Zamil said that among the board’s tasks and priorities will be the governance of all aspects of the club to ensure its continued success and foster an environment that helps the team achieve its goals.
She added that with women playing bigger roles in all fields thanks to the support of the government, many have excelled and become leaders in the sports sector.
Al-Zamil also highlighted the spate of legal cases raised overseas, which have seen several Saudi clubs suffer sanctions and fines, saying: “These problems can be resolved if a club is managed with an investor’s mentality and a culture of corporate work is created in the environment. Roles, responsibilities and powers must be clearly defined, and there must be a clear governance framework that can be used to manage risks and prevent any financial or administration problems, or at least set alternative plans to manage and reduce losses as much as possible.”
The Kingdom views the sports sector as playing a vital role in driving social change and contributing to social welfare and economic growth, she explained.
This is evident in the different government initiatives and projects that are focused on creating a sports and entertaining system that is sustainable, Al-Zamil said, adding that today’s sports industry includes electronic gaming and adventure sports.
“The sports sector is one that can increase national income and have a positive impact in terms of developing the national economy through hosting championships, sports conferences and other events, and holding exclusive rights for broadcasting and sponsorships,” she said. “It is also a part of many other sectors such as health, education, tourism and entertainment.”
Al-Zamil insists that Saudi women are qualified, ambitious and capable, and soon she fully expects some of them to be chairwomen of boards in several sectors and not only of sports clubs.
She also sees the Saudi sports market as a place of opportunity, which she encourages young women and men to explore. According to Al-Zamil, the market needs people, including academics and accelerators, who are specialized in sports to work in sports journalism, marketing, tourism and investment.