Saudi Arabia launched its first women’s football league on Monday, the latest step in the Kingdom’s wide-reaching reform of its sport and entertainment sectors.
The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) inaugurated the official Women’s Football League (WFL) at a launch event in Riyadh on Monday. The WFL will launch next season with matches being played in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam.
“The commencement of the Saudi Women’s Football League is one more major leap forward for the future of our country, our health, our youth, and our ambitions to see every athlete be recognized and nurtured to their fullest capability,” said SFA President Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud at the launch event.
The tournament will be structured to have preliminary rounds in each region, the winners of which will go through to the WFL Champions Coup knockout stage for the chance to be crowned champions and win 500,000 Saudi riyals.
The establishment of the WFL is part of the Kingdom’s recent efforts to develop women’s sport.
Male and female equestrians recently rode side-by-side for the first time in Saudi Arabia at the Diriyah Equestrian Festival in December, while Saudi women are participating in the Saudi Ladies International golf tournament next month.
“A strategic and historic step under the Quality of Life program, the WFL is a pillar initiative of the Saudi Sports for All Federation and contributes to the realization of Vision 2030 for a healthier and more active society,” said Prince Khaled.
“We have already opened up an online registration for women who want to take part in the league. Since we are still in the early stages, we do not know have a lot of participants yet. But we are optimistic and hoping that the league kicks off in March until Ramadan. It will take place in Riyadh, Dammam, and Jeddah,” SFA Managing Director Shaima Saleh al-Husseini told Al Arabiya during the launch event.
Under the Kingdom’s extensive Vision 2030 reform plan, the Quality of Life program envisions transforming entertainment for citizens and tourists in the Kingdom. The program includes the development of 149 art galleries, 16 family entertainment centers, 44 public parks and a range of other facilities.