First the heavy money fell on Cristiano Ronaldo, then the huge signing of Benzema, and now the possible Kante and Zaha, if you count the hard working Messi, the Saudi league suddenly became the focus of attention of fans around the world. Although the Middle Eastern country's wealth is well known, it is surprising that the country's club teams have so many big operations. Why did the Saudi giants suddenly "exert their strength"?
On June 6, Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman launched the Sports Club Investment and Privatization Project, announcing the acquisition of 5% ownership by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) of four football clubs (Jeddah United, Jeddah National, Riyadh Crescent, Riyadh Victory). According to the Saudi State News Agency, the launch of the project is in line with the goals of the Saudi sports sector's Vision 75.
It is understood that the project consists of two parts, the first is to approve companies and public sector organizations to invest in sports clubs, and the second is to privatize sports clubs from the fourth quarter of 2023. The objectives of the project have three distinct phases: the first step is to promote increased investment opportunities and a favourable investment climate in the sports sector; In addition, it is necessary to improve the professionalism, governance and financial sustainability of the club to create a healthy and healthy club; The final step is to strengthen the club's competitiveness to provide world-class service to sports fans, enrich the fan experience and drive community engagement.
At present, part of the first phase of the program has been completed, and four Saudi clubs – Jeddah United, Jeddah National, Riyadh Victory and Riyadh Crescent – have been transformed into companies, each owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and each club's non-profit foundation. The Saudi Public Investment Fund owns 75% of each club in the club companies, while their respective non-profit foundations hold 25% ownership of each club. The transfer of the four clubs will unlock additional business opportunities, including investment, partnerships and sponsorships in numerous sports.
According to media reports, the Saudi league has set up a huge amount of special funds for the introduction of big-name stars. It is reported that the deal Saudi Arabia is approaching could require more than $10 billion to pay the salaries of about 20 foreign players. People familiar with the matter said that since Ronaldo joined, the Saudi league has also been considering whether to concentrate on more big-name signings and distribute them evenly to big clubs. It is reported that their goal is to assign 4 top foreign players to each of the 3 largest clubs, and 8 players to the other 12 teams in the league. Text/Reporter Zhang Kunlong