On 6th January, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) and Ministry of Sport (MOS) were delighted to host a special two-day visit by FIFA President Gianni Infantino in Riyadh.
The visit came as a part of ongoing development of relations between FIFA and SAFF for a prosperous future for football. Together, Mr Infantino, SAFF President Yasser Almisehal and Minister of Sport His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal explored future ways for cooperation in order to continue to grow the beautiful game.
During the visit, Mr Infantino visited the SAFF Headquarters in Riyadh, meeting the leadership to discuss Saudi Arabia’s regional training centres and strategy for the development of women’s football, as well as conducting a tour of the SAFF museum.
In meetings with His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the FIFA President discussed the ambitious plans of the Saudi Arabian government to develop sports over the next decade. As part of this, Mr Infantino went on a tour of the new Mahd Sports Academy, a groundbreaking project launched in 2020 with the aim of identifying and developing local sports talent, while he also took part in a football match alongside the Minister of Sport and a number of former Saudi national team stars.
In line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, and in particular its Quality of Life program, the development and growth of football has been placed at the forefront of the country’s progress. Alongside the continued progress of the Saudi Pro League, important investments have also been made into the development of women’s football and youth football.
Reflecting on his visit, Mr Infantino said, “I have been very positively impressed here in Riyadh to see the facilities of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and I was impressed by the professionalism, by the passion and by the skills. I knew already that Saudi Arabia is a football country, and has football in its heart, but what I see here is a strategy and a vision. The fruits of this work will be seen, I think, in the years to come. FIFA is proud and happy…to accompany this process, because we need the big countries [involved] and Saudi Arabia is definitely a big country.”
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