Saudi Arabia unveils plan to become major player in global football

Quassay Alfawaz, the new president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), has announced ambitious plans that include raising the national team’s global ranking to 40th place from the current 70th.

Alfawaz said he planned to send more players from the kingdom to top foreign leagues – a move that took effect this year – and to see the Saudi league – renamed MBS League – become one of the world’s best.

His programme, called The Rise of Saudi Football, will also see an increase in the number of national coaches and specialised football scouts to discover more new talent in Saudi Arabia.

He said his plan was inspired by Vision 2030, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

We are confident about the situation of our national team before the Asian Cup tournament; we will be preparing our team to achieve the best possible results. We believe that our football has the right capabilities to reach a global stage,” he added.

As part of his team to improve football, Alfawaz will be joined by Roger Draper who served as chief executive of Sport England from 2003 to 2006 and the Lawn Tennis Association from 2006 to 2013.

During his tenure at Sport England, Draper had overall accountability for business turnover of £340 million and was involved in London’s 2012 Olympic bid, and the Wembley National Stadium construction project.

Alfawaz said:

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“Foreign expertise is essential and Roger Draper enjoys a rich experience in the English Premier League in managing several sports projects. We will benefit from his experience.”