The Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority (GSA) has injected a $650million investment into its sports sector to enhance growth and encourage clubs to diversify practices.
The financial strategy is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, a long-term plan that has grown into a central part of government policy.
The investment will seek to encourage sports clubs to commit to the highest standards of governance and administration, furthering the profile of sport as well as its popularity and accessible across the country.
The initiative was announced this week by chairman of the GSA, His Royal Highness Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal, who sought to inform those present of the vision, objective and mechanics of the scheme.
“Sports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was always a key focus for our government and a passion for our people,” he said.
“We have talented athletes, passionate fans and an ambitious vision to develop the sports sector and our teams to compete on the highest levels.
“This strategy was designed after months of research done by global experts and we are confident that it will massively impact the governance and professionalism level of our sporting practice in the Kingdom in the years to come.”
The investment will see 170 active sports clubs across the Kingdom benefit from both direct financial support as well as performance-based assistance, prompting them to meet the highest standards of infrastructure, fan attendance, accessibility and diversity.
Each club must go through a detailed filtration process in order to collect points before eventually receiving the funds.
And the scheme will take place in multiple stages, with the initial phase covering the most popular sports such as football, volleyball, handball and athletics before more minor sports become integrated as the strategy progresses.
“This announcement comes after a thorough and in-depth talks with Saudi clubs,” he added.
“Together we aim to work for the benefit of Saudi sport by supporting clubs not only with direct funds but also based on their performance and for complying with the strategy.”
The investment comes after a period of sustained sporting growth for the Kingdom, with the Dakar Rally, Italian Super Cup, Handball World Cup and Formula E all taking place in the country.
Amir Khan’s recent fight against Australian Billy Dib was also staged at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City, a bout held in the country to promote Saudi Arabian boxing as well as the futuristic venue.
And this latest investment continues that trend, helping the Kingdom on the road to achieving its progressive goal of Vision 2030.