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HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman initiated the Sports Clubs Investment and Privatization Project on Monday, June 5th, intending to enhance investment opportunities and privatize sports clubs, potentially leading to advancements in the sports industry. The primary objective of this initiative is to bolster the Saudi sports industry in line with Vision 2030 objectives through a strategic partnership with the private sector. The project aims to enhance the overall efficiency of the sports sector, thereby creating an environment conducive to growth and development. By leveraging the strengths and expertise of all stakeholders involved, Saudis can collectively work towards building a thriving sports industry that not only benefits the economy but also promotes a healthier and more active lifestyle among citizens.
The Sports Clubs Investment and Privatization Project has been designed to accomplish three key objectives: The first goal is to introduce lucrative investment prospects in the sports industry that can yield substantial returns, the second objective is to enhance the overall management, proficiency, and financial stability of sports clubs, thereby ensuring their long-term success, and lastly, the project aims to bolster the competitiveness and organizational structure of these sports clubs, making them better equipped to tackle challenges and achieve their goals. According to the Ministry of Sport, the governing boards of these clubs will be composed of seven members, with five of them being designated by PIF and the remaining two being appointed by a non-profit organization; thus the allocation of board members ensures a balanced representation of both private and public interests, ultimately promoting transparency and accountability within the clubs’ operations.
On Monday, the Kingdom made an official announcement that it has granted the Public Investment Fund (PIF) a significant 75% ownership stake in four notable football clubs – Al Ittihad, Al Ahly, Al Nasr, and Al Hilal. This move by the PIF holds significant potential to transform the football landscape in the region, as it brings a new wave of investment and growth opportunities to the sport, alongside the decision to boost funding for the Saudi Pro League has positioned the KSA to have a significant impact on the world of football. The move is expected to attract top-tier players to the league, with clubs now able to make more ambitious offers in order to secure their services. This increased investment will also provide more resources for coaching and player development, with a view to establishing Saudi Arabia as a major player in the global soccer scene.
As per the official statement from the government, the current project has a primary objective of boosting the commercial revenues of the Roshn Saudi League. The target is to increase the revenue from 450 million riyals($120m) in 2022 to over 1.8 billion riyals ($480m) annually. Additionally, the initiative aims to create opportunities for private-sector investment and augment the league’s market value from three billion to more than eight billion riyals by 2030. The move clearly indicates the country’s commitment to the beautiful game and its desire to see the Pro League become one of the top leagues in the world.
Prof. Alaa Alghamdi
Saudi Scholar & Writer *