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Saudi Pro League

Why is Saudi Arabia investing so heavily in football?

Published at :June 8, 2023 at 6:42 PM
Modified at :June 8, 2023 at 6:43 PM
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Aditya Chauhan

Benzema joins Ronaldo in the Saudi Pro League

The 2022-23 European club football season is almost over and teams have already started to prepare for the 2023-24 season. Most of the teams are looking to make changes and improve their squad. Looking at the current transfer scenario, the Saudi Pro League (SPL) clubs are the ones topping the headlines.

Nowadays, all we hear in the news is Saudi Pro League clubs making a transfer bid for a star player. Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Al-Nassr has opened the doors for a lot of professionals. The fee and wages that these clubs are offering are becoming difficult to reject.

Due to no restriction on the financial rules, these Saudi Pro clubs offer players more than they used to earn in their previous clubs. Why are these clubs spending so much? What could be their vision?

Cristiano Ronaldo's signing is the biggest moment to date in Saudi Pro League. A lot of teams especially in Europe were trying to recruit the Portuguese international. However, Ronaldo decided on moving to the Middle East and is now enjoying his football in Saudi Arabia.

Karim Benzema followed his former teammate and recently joined the Saudi League. The Frenchman was offered a lot of money and he took no time to accept it. N'Golo Kante is another big name who is heading to Saudi Arabia.

Recently, Public Investment Fund (PIF), which owns Newcastle United, made a big investment in the Saudi Pro League. They made an investment and now have 75% control of Al Ittihad, Al Hali, Al-Nassr, and Al Hilal.

Saudi Arabia's aim in football

According to reports, Saudi Arabia aims at increasing the revenue from the football league and take it to the top 10 leagues in the world. Saudi clubs are not bound by any rules on spending. This means they can offer high salaries that could lure players to the Middle East.

A news agency SPA reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salem has launched a privatisation plan that mainly focuses on football clubs. This plan allows companies and development agencies to invest in clubs or take over.

They plan to increase the revenue generated from the league. By 2030, the revenue must go up to $480m from $120m. Other than this, they also expect the market value to rise to more than $2.1 billion.

Saudi Arabia has also made a bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2030. With Qatar hosting the 2022 edition, Saudi also looks to get into the history books.

With the league attracting top players, it looks like the Middle East nation is growing rapidly in football. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sees sports as a vital part of their overall strategy to change the country's international political and economic standing.

It will be interesting to see which nation gets a chance to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup. Saudi Arabia and Saudi Pro League are in the news these days. They will look to grow football in their country and become one of the best leagues in the world.