Saudi Arabia has been chosen to host the next edition of the FIFA Club World Cup with the football tournament due to kick off in December.
The intercontinental competition, which will take place from December 12 to December 22, will be the most recent significant international athletic event to take place in the Kingdom and will promote the growth of both the men’s and women’s games in the country at all levels.
The decision was taken on Tuesday during a meeting of the FIFA Council, only days after Al-Hilal played Real Madrid after becoming the first Saudi team to win the AFC Champions League and progress to the tournament’s final.
Saudi Arabia will be the competition’s sixth host country since its start in 2000.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sport, said: “We are honored and ecstatic to be given the opportunity to welcome the world’s top football clubs and their supporters 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 percent are under the age of 35 and are absolutely obsessed with football,” the prince added.
The national sport of Saudi Arabia is football, which is played, watched, or attended by 80% of the country’s population. Football is ingrained in communities across the whole kingdom.
The FIFA Club World Cup 2023 award marks the most recent phase in Saudi football’s development. Additionally, the Kingdom just received confirmation that it will host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup and is actively seeking to host the 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
“The FIFA Club World Cup is a remarkable competition that has produced wonderful memories,” said Yasser Al-Misehal, president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and a recently elected FIFA Council member.
“The tournament has not only given millions of people throughout the world countless memories, but it has also sparked fresh rivalries between nations and built new bonds among players. We appreciate FIFA’s confidence in us to produce a top-notch edition of the competition.
“Saudi football is experiencing an extraordinary period of growth, and this is due in large part to a defined plan that has been implemented in every facet of the game.
More players than ever before have signed up for all age categories of boys and girls right now. We have stronger domestic leagues, including the SPL, more qualified coaches and officials, greater governance, and more (Saudi Pro League).
Following their best-ever qualification campaign, the Saudi men’s first team made their sixth FIFA World Cup appearance last year. Their triumph over the eventual champions Argentina made international headlines in Qatar.
In contrast, since their founding in 2021, their female counterparts have seen an unprecedented period of growth and development, and they recently won their first-ever hosted the international championship.
And after their first training camp this month, the newly created U-17 team will look to follow in their footsteps.
The conclusion of the inaugural eight-team SAFF Women’s Premier League signals a continuation of the exciting growth trajectory for women’s football in Saudi Arabia.
More than 200,000 girls practice sports every week in the Kingdom, and 50,000 of them compete in the first-ever Schools League. There has also been a huge growth in sports participation at all levels.