RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Football Federation on Saturday revealed its strategy for the transformation of football in the Kingdom in an exclusive event held at the Green Halls in Riyadh.
A seven-pillar strategy was announced, which aims to position the Kingdom among the elite football nations by the time the FIFA World Cup 2034 arrives.
The seven pillars of the strategy, titled “Our Tactics for Tomorrow,” are Pathway, Competitions, Women’s Football, Technology, Workforce, Global Prominence and Governance.
The plan looks to some of the world’s most successful national footballing projects for inspiration and presents a clear vision for the nation’s footballing future that capitalizes on the talent, energy and drive of the Saudi youth.
It also looks to enhance coordination between key stakeholders of the Saudi football ecosystem, such as the Ministry of Sports, MAHD Academy and the clubs, in an aim to produce the best Saudi footballing generation ever.
The event was attended by Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, minister of sports and president of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, alongside SAFF President Yasser Al-Misehal, federation members and a wide range of Saudi football stakeholders.
“Sports is an integral component of Saudi Arabia’s transformative Vision 2030, and we are thankful for the unconditional support and wise vision of our Kingdom’s leadership,” Prince Abdulaziz said. “Football contributes to all the key pillars of our holistic strategy as a ministry. It’s a game that represents a source of great passion for Saudis in general, as it promotes diversity and inclusion in our society, and supports participation, youth development and the sports economy.
He added: “We want to aim to be genuine contenders on the global stage to truly reflect the undeniable talent of our youth along with the country’s love for the game.”
According to the strategy outline, success will be achieved by supporting the development of every Saudi footballer from age six through to professional age by optimizing existing regional centers and developing new grade A centers across different regions in the Kingdom.
“Inspired by the vision of our Kingdom’s leadership and the unconditional support for the sports sector, we have massive ambitions to build on the unwavering passion of the fans and our nation’s illustrious history to transform the future of Saudi football,” Al-Misehal said. “Our comprehensive and ambitious plan will propel Saudi Arabia to become among the elite football nations through an extensive investment in player development and targeted solutions across the pathway.”
Also central to the strategy is the launch of a uniform coaching curriculum and youth structure program for the club transition phase. National centers will also be developed to serve as a home to Saudi national teams across all age levels, offering them a year-round training camp.
The plans also include the establishment of a comprehensive structure for competitions to offer talented Saudi players a bridge to professional football through greater playing opportunities across each age group. More than 50 youth competitions will be in place by 2025 spread across all Saudi regions and integrating clubs, MAHD Academy and private academies.
This pathway and competition setup will also be rolled out into women’s football, through a program that aims to create a platform for the sustainable growth of the women’s game. The strategy aims to professionalize women’s football and offer an opportunity for Saudi girls throughout the country to showcase their talent. The immediate plans include launching an inaugural local 11-a-side competition.
The strategy also plans to develop a world class football workforce on and off the pitch through targeting the development of Saudi coaches and scouts, as well as enhancing the Saudi refereeing landscape. The new tailored Saudi coaching curriculum will also be formalized and a certification system will be designed and implemented. By the year 2025, it is hoped that more than 8,000 Saudi coaches will be certified and more than 2,500 Saudi referees will go through a tailored refereeing academy program.