Al-Fayha goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic wants to see SPL among world’s top 5 leagues

Special Al-Fayha goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic wants to see SPL among world’s top 5 leagues
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Updated 12 January 2024
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Al-Fayha goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic wants to see SPL among world’s top 5 leagues

Al-Fayha goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic wants to see SPL among world’s top 5 leagues

RIYADH: Vladimir Stojkovic, goalkeeper for Saudi Pro League side Al-Fayha Club, wants to see the league become one of the world’s top five in the next 10 years. 

Speaking on Arab News’ “The Mayman Show” podcast from the club’s Al-Majma’ah pitch, the 40-year-old Serbian shot-stopper pointed out the league’s increasing strength as more big-name players – such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Neymar – make their mark in Saudi football.   

While he has only been in the Kingdom for just over two years, he has noticed the increasing global interest in the league and observed a shift in attitudes toward a growing affection for it. 

 

 

He said top players from the national team of his home country had started joining the league, a situation that helped motivate him to elevate his game to the highest level, especially when playing against the best. 

The increased competition made matches more intense, competitive, and enjoyable, he added. 

Before achieving an historic win with his club in the 2022 King’s Cup competition, Stojkovic had played for Red Star Belgrade in Serbia, FC Nantes in France, Vitesse in the Netherlands, Sporting of Portugal, Getafe in Spain, Wigan Athletic and Nottingham Forest in England, Partizan Belgrade in Serbia, Ergotelis in Greece, and Maccabi Haifa in Israel. 

 

 

He began playing football at the age of 13, and from that point onward, his entire life revolved around the sport. 

He noted that the only challenge he faced as a kid was occasionally being late for other activities because he was always playing football, from early morning until late at night. 

His family had always inspired him to pursue a career in football. His father and brother played as goalkeepers, his mom was an athlete for the former Yugoslavian national team, and his nephew now plays in goal for Saudi side Al-Faisaly. 

Stojkovic said: “It is a difficult life; it is not easy like people think — just go on the pitch and shoot the ball and that’s it. If you play for a big club, the expectation is big, 3 million people want something from you … and every day, a new challenge. 

 

 

“If you are at a big club, you have pressure, pressure, and pressure and also they expect from you something different because you are a foreigner, and wherever you go you have to be different and play good,” he added. 

When playing for Partizan, rival of Red Star Belgrade, he lived under 24/7 police protection. 

“I woke up in the morning, and the police guys were waiting for me outside. They would go with me to training and after training, bring me back or accompany me to a restaurant. They had to go with me, to follow me, 24 hours,” he said. 

But now he is enjoying his time in the Kingdom and taking every opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia and sample its local cuisine. 

 

 

“Saudi has everything. I’m happy here because I have very good competition, and play in a very good league,” Stojkovic added. 

On his secret to achieving success, he said: “You must have passion. You have to be crazy for the football and never give up. After that, the way to the top is long, you have to survive. You need to keep on fighting. 

“You never know when someone will see your talent, maybe at school or maybe on the park.”

 

 


Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s continued acts of genocide in Rafah 

Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s continued acts of genocide in Rafah 
Updated 7 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s continued acts of genocide in Rafah 

Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s continued acts of genocide in Rafah 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia condemned on Tuesday the Israeli forces’ continued “genocidal massacres against the Palestinian people without deterrence” by targeting the tents of defenseless Palestinian refugees in Rafah.

The Kingdom holds the Israeli authorities fully responsible for what is happening in Rafah and all the occupied Palestinian territories, a foreign ministry statement read.

Israel’s military denied striking a tent camp west of the city of Rafah on Tuesday after Gaza health authorities said Israeli tank shelling had killed at least 21 people there, in what Israel has designated a civilian evacuation zone.

Earlier, defying an appeal from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Israeli tanks advanced to the heart of Rafah for the first time after a night of heavy bombardment, while Spain, Ireland and Norway officially recognized a Palestinian state, a move that further deepened Israel’s international isolation.

Saudi Arabia reiterated that the Israeli forces’ blatant violation of all international and humanitarian laws and norms, amid the silence of the international community, exacerbates the unprecedented Palestinian humanitarian catastrophe, and puts the credibility of international legitimacy institution at stake.

“The Kingdom stresses the need for the international community to assume its responsibilities to stop the massacres against the Palestinian people and hold those responsible accountable,” the statement concluded.

- With Reuters. 


Saudi Ministry of Media, Microsoft Arabia sign memorandum of understanding

Saudi Ministry of Media, Microsoft Arabia sign memorandum of understanding
Updated 55 min 45 sec ago
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Saudi Ministry of Media, Microsoft Arabia sign memorandum of understanding

Saudi Ministry of Media, Microsoft Arabia sign memorandum of understanding
  • Deal aims to advance media sector in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Media signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft Arabia in Riyadh on Tuesday covering several areas of cooperation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Assistant Minister of Media Abdullah Al-Maghlouth, and Ziad Mansour, Microsoft’s executive vice president of data and artificial intelligence.

Bassem Al-Hazmi, the general manager of digital transformation and information technology and the general manager of cybersecurity, was also present, along with the President of Microsoft Arabia Turki Badhris.

Cooperation will include developing technical aspects in the areas of data analysis, self-learning, AI, security and privacy solutions, and various software and service development solutions.

It will aim to raise the quality of local media content and keep pace with global transformations to serve the future goals of the Ministry of Media.

The memorandum also bids to advance the media sector in the Kingdom, enabling it to contribute to the local economy while benefiting from the developments of AI and its multiple applications in the field of media.


Who’s Who: Mansour Al-Babtain, VP of commercial partnerships and liaison at World Defense Show

Who’s Who: Mansour Al-Babtain, VP of commercial partnerships and liaison at World Defense Show
Updated 58 min 9 sec ago
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Who’s Who: Mansour Al-Babtain, VP of commercial partnerships and liaison at World Defense Show

Who’s Who: Mansour Al-Babtain, VP of commercial partnerships and liaison at World Defense Show

Mansour Al-Babtain is the vice president of commercial partnerships and liaison at the World Defense Show.

A former fighter pilot, Al-Babtain has extensive experience working with high-level government figures and private-sector leaders.

He joined the WDS in April 2021. His current role is to oversee the sales, sponsorship and customer experience divisions, in addition to maintaining his liaison responsibilities with Saudi government entities including the General Authority for Military Industries and international delegations.

The department links WDS business owners with the appropriate government entities, ensures the security of the location and people prior to, during and following the show, and manages WDS committees.

From the initial show license to security support, Al-Babtain effectively manages the challenges of ensuring the smooth entry and exit of military supplies, technology, and personnel.

Having graduated from King Faisal Air Academy, he served 12 years in the Royal Saudi Air Force as a fighter pilot, squadron leader and tactical intelligence officer before moving to the Ministry of Defense and later to several government entities.

In addition to his degree in aerial sciences, Al-Babtain holds a master’s degree in strategic studies from Air University in Alabama and a diploma in diplomatic and political relations from the International Arbitration Commission in Cairo.
 


AI and intellectual property in the spotlight at Arab League meeting

AI and intellectual property in the spotlight at Arab League meeting
Updated 28 May 2024
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AI and intellectual property in the spotlight at Arab League meeting

AI and intellectual property in the spotlight at Arab League meeting

RIYADH: Intellectual property and artificial intelligence will be discussed at a regional meeting of the Arab League’s Intellectual Property and Competitiveness Department on Wednesday.

The virtual gathering, which will be hosted via video link, will include experts from the World Intellectual Property Organization and governmental intellectual property offices from several Arab nations, reported Saudi Press Agency.

Key topics on the agenda are optimizing intellectual property frameworks for AI development, the impact of AI on patenting processes, legislative efforts to address legal challenges, and implications of AI for copyright regulations.

Minister Plenipotentiary Dr. Maha Bakheet, director of legal affairs at the Intellectual Property and Competitiveness Department, said the meeting aimed to safeguard AI models through intellectual property mechanisms and enhance services.

It also hopes to drive service delivery and management progress within regional intellectual property offices.


Saudi recruiters to face heavy fines for visa violations

Saudi recruiters to face heavy fines for visa violations
Updated 28 May 2024
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Saudi recruiters to face heavy fines for visa violations

Saudi recruiters to face heavy fines for visa violations

RIYADH: The General Directorate of Public Security announced that recruiters who postpone reporting the departures of employees as soon as their entry visas expire will be subject to a fine of about SR50,000 ($13,300), imprisonment for up to six months, and deportation of recruitees if they are expatriates.

The directorate called for reporting residency, work and border security regulation violations by dialing the numbers (911) in Makkah, Riyadh and the Eastern Province, and (999) in the rest of the Kingdom.

According to the Saudi Press Agency report, the directorate said that from May 23 until June 21, anyone holding a visit visa of any type is not permitted to enter or remain in Makkah.

A visit visa of any type and name does not entitle its holder to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, added the directorate.