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Saudi Arabia To Host FIFA Club World Cup 2023

Saudi Arabia has been announced by Fifa as the host of the next edition of the Fifa Club World Cup, with the tournament scheduled from 12-22 December 2023. The staging of the coveted competition signals the latest major international sports event to be hosted by the country and builds further on the huge positive momentum behind Saudi football in the men’s and women’s games at all levels.

The decision was made at a Fifa Council meeting on Tuesday, 14 February 2023 and comes only a few days after Al Hilal faced Real Madrid, having become the first winner of the AFC Champions League and the first Saudi club to reach the final of the tournament. Saudi Arabia will be only the sixth host of the competition since its inception in 2000.

Reflecting upon the decision, Saudi Arabia’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, said: “We are honoured and extremely excited to be given the opportunity to welcome the world’s leading football clubs and their fans to Saudi Arabia. Many fans will have recently witnessed our ability as a nation to compete at the highest possible level on the pitch. Now we have the chance to prove we are also world-class hosts off it. We look forward to showcasing our genuine love of the game and our desire to be a force for good.

“Today is another important step forward on our journey of transformation in football and as a country and I trust all involved will see for themselves the undeniable progress being made at many different levels. We host international sports for the simple reason that we truly believe in the power of sport to inspire our boys and girls, to create new connections and build new relationships. This will mean so much to our people where 70% are under the age of 35 and are absolutely obsessed with football.”

Football is the much-loved national sport of Saudi Arabia, rooted in communities across all corners of the country, where 80% of the population plays, attends or follows. The awarding of the Fifa World Cup 2023 represents the latest chapter of Saudi football’s development and comes after being confirmed as the 2027 AFC Asian Cup hosts while an active bid to host the 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup continues.

Demonstrating the country’s progress, the Saudi Arabian men’s first team marked their sixth Fifa World Cup™ appearance last year following its best-ever qualification campaign and captured global headlines in Qatar following their victory over eventual champions Argentina. Meanwhile, their women counterparts have been on a historic run of growth and development since their establishment in 2021 and were recently crowned champions in their first-ever hosted international championship last month. The recently formed U-17 squad will hope to follow in their footsteps after undergoing their first training camp this month.

Women’s football’s exciting trajectory of growth in Saudi Arabia continues with the conclusion of the inaugural eight-team SAFF Women’s Premier League. There has also been a tremendous increase in sports participation across all levels, with over 200,000 girls practising sports every week and 50,000 taking part in the first-ever Schools League.

President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) and newly elected Fifa Council Member Yasser Al Misehal said: “The Fifa Club World Cup™ is a special competition that has delivered incredible moments. Not only has it gifted many memories to millions across the globe, but the tournament has also created new international rivalries and forged new friendships within the game. We thank Fifa for their trust in us to deliver an exceptional edition of the event.

“Saudi football is going through an unprecedented of growth, there is fresh energy and sense of optimism thanks to a clear strategy across all areas of the game. Currently we’ve more players registered at all age groups for boys and girls than ever before. We have more qualified coaches, more qualified referees, better governance and stronger domestic leagues including the SPL. The future is bright, and this tournament is another highlight to look forward to especially when you consider some of the mouthwatering fixtures and players who might take part.”


Khaleej Times

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