Salzburg dumped out of Champions League

Updated 26 July 2012

Salzburg dumped out of Champions League

BERNE: Salzburg were knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers by Luxemburg’s Dudelange on Tuesday, continuing an astonishing run of failures in the competition since Red Bull took over the Austrian club.
Last season’s double winners, who enjoy substantial financial backing from the energy drinks company, beat visitors Dudelange 4-3 in their second qualifying round, second leg tie but were eliminated on away goals after losing 1-0 last week.
Red Bull took over the club in 2005 with ambitious plans of making Salzburg Champions League regulars, only to see their team fail five times in a row in the qualifiers.
The only time they have taken part in the group stage was as the old Austria Salzburg in 1994/95.
Their latest failure is a huge setback for coach Roger Schmidt and sporting director Ralf Rangnick, the former Schalke 04 coach, who took over in the close season.
Salzburg’s troubles in Tuesday’s match began when they lost possession in midfield, allowing Thierry Steinmetz to break clear and score in the 26th minute.
Jakob Jantscher and Martin Hinteregger put Salzburg 2-1 ahead at halftime, only for Aurelien Joachim to level with his sixth goal in four matches in the qualifying tournament.
Steinmetz struck again to make it 3-2 but Dudelange then had to endure a nerve-wracking finale after forward Sofian Benzouien was sent off in the 74th minute.
Salzburg’s Cristiano converted an 81st minute penalty and fellow substitute Gonzalo Zarate scored a minute later to put the hosts ahead on the night but the Austrians could not find the fifth goal they needed in the final eight minutes.
A goal in the last minute of extra-time away to Kazakhstan’s Shakhtyor IK gave Czech champions Slovan Liberec a 1-1 draw which sent them through 2-1 on aggregate.
Norwegian side Molde, coached by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, went through 4-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw at Latvian champions Ventspils and in the third qualifying round will face Swiss champions FC Basel, who last season eliminated his former club Manchester United.
Two goals from Cameroon striker Jacques Zoua and one from Chilean midfielder Marcelo Diaz, Switzerland’s most expensive close season signing, gave Basel a 3-0 win over Estonia’s Flora Tallinn as they completed a 5-0 aggregate victory.
Debrecen, one of only two Hungarian sides to have played in the group stage, beat Albanian champions Skenderbeu 3-0 to qualify 3-1 on aggregate and Lithuanian champions Ekranas ended the hopes of Ireland’s Shamrock Rovers with a 2-1 win. Two goals from Nemanja Tomic helped Partizan Belgrade to a 3-1 win over Malta’s FC Valletta as they went through 7-2.

Saudi Women’s Football League launched

Updated 24 February 2020

Saudi Women’s Football League launched

  • The first season of the WFL, a nationwide initiative, will be held in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam
  • League inaugurated by president of Saudi Sports for All Federation

RIYADH/DUBAI: Community sports for female athletes in the Kingdom took another giant step forward after the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) inaugurated on Monday the Women’s Football League (WFL) at a launch event in Riyadh. 

It is the latest initiative led by SFA President Prince Khaled bin Al-Waleed bin Talal to promote grassroots sports activities for budding female and male athletes across Saudi Arabia.

SFA President Prince Khaled bin Al-Waleed bin Talal (L) (AN Photo/Bashir Saleh)

“The development of the WFL came about because we understood there was a need for community-level football for women,” Prince Khaled told Arab News.

“This community league is the first activation of many different community-level sports for women, and it will serve as a great model in terms of league infrastructure and inclusion metrics, contributing to Saudi Vision 2030 and the Quality of Life program.”

Fully funded by the SFA, the WFL is a nationwide community-level league for women aged 17 and above.

In its first season, it will take place in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, with more cities potentially joining in due course. 

With a prize of SR500,000 ($133,285) at stake, the WFL will consist of preliminary rounds taking place across the three cities to establish regional champions.

The winners progress to a knockout competition, the WFL Champions Cup, to determine the national champion, with the date of the final to be announced later in the season. 

Prince Khaled thanked King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority, for their “boundless support.”



The WFL “is one more major leap forward for the future of our country, our health, our youth, and our ambitions to see every athlete be recognized and nurtured to their fullest capability,” said Prince Khaled. 

Women’s football is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports, and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup raised its profile to unprecedented levels, inspiring greater participation across the globe.

Inspiration for female footballers at the grassroots level has come from closer to home, Prince Khaled said.

“I think a big inspiration for young Saudi women to get involved in community-level football is the Saudi Greens Team,” he said, referring to the all-female team established by the SFA.

“The Saudi Greens placed second in the Global Goals World Cup last year, and this was a huge moment for young female athletes in the Kingdom.”

Prince Khaled sees the WFL as a pivotal initiative of the SFA and a major driver behind the realization of the Vision 2030 reform plan, which strives for a healthier and more active society.

SFA Managing Director Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini believes that the WFL will significantly improve the visibility of women in sports and prioritize their fitness, health and wellness.

Some of the women at the launch event. (AN Photo/Bashir Saleh)

“Empowering women comes through positive and proactive programs like the WFL that have been conceptualized to continue to have a lasting impact on health, fitness and wellbeing,” she said.

“The SFA, committed to putting women at the forefront of our mission to grow Saudi Arabia’s healthy and active community, continues to engage public and private sector stakeholders to realize this aim together.”

She said this is a qualitative shift in women’s sports in the Kingdom. Spearheaded by Sara Al-Jawini, the SFA’s director of sports development, the federation “studied all aspects of the new league, conducting continuous workshops to ensure the wider WFL infrastructure and lasting impact metrics,” Al-Husseini added. 

Some of the women at the launch event. (AN Photo/Bashir Saleh)

The SFA has ensured that the football pitches are ready for the start of the WFL in March, with all-female organizational and technical teams in place to manage the various committees working toward delivering the league.

The WFL infrastructure teams will address and complete administrative requirements, refereeing, and technical and medical issues. 

Coaching and refereeing courses are planned to further develop the country’s infrastructure for women in sports.

The SFA’s investment in the WFL includes both women’s coaching and women’s refereeing training to fully flesh out the program’s potential and maintenance. 

At a later stage, the SFA and WFL will be communicating details on additional leagues and football events, as well as festivals targeting girls aged 16 and below.

These competitions, under the banner “Beyond Football,” will focus on building a strong base for future participation at the community level, beginning with girls aged 5.