The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) revealed, through the hosting brochure published on the AFC website, a comprehensive development program for women's football prepared by the federation within the framework of Saudi Arabia's bid to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup for the first time in the Kingdom.
The Saudi Federation revealed that this program comes based on the vision of the profile in "creating a new experience, a new exchange and a new expansion" for Asian football, as it is scheduled to start in the middle of this year.
While the elements of this program are still under review and scrutiny, the Saudi Federation aspires to launch its activities throughout the Kingdom, in addition to opening horizons for the development of women's football in the Gulf region and the Asian continent in general.
A key component of the new women's football development program is to encourage girls to start playing football, an example being the Kingdom's Women's Community Soccer League initiative, which was launched last year.
The program also aims to gradually raise the level of young women's teams over the next five years, so that the Kingdom and the neighboring countries possess sufficient capabilities that qualify them to compete at the international level.
This long-term ambition is based on several initiatives, foremost among which is the "Mahd Sports Academy" launched by Minister of Sports Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, last September, with ambitious plans to become one of the largest sports academies in the world during the next decade, and football development for women will be one of its main priorities in the coming years.
For his part, the Secretary-General of the Saudi Federation Eng. Ibrahim Al-Qassem pointed to the great public passion for hosting the 2027 Asian Cup.
He said: “A great passion is spread throughout the Kingdom towards this hosting, and you can imagine the amount of energy and enthusiasm that we will all feel if our dream of winning the bid is realized. So we have to seize this momentum to make tangible progress in women's football."
He added, "Our research indicates that out of the more than five million football fans in the Kingdom, 33% of them are female, and their numbers are steadily increasing.
“Because these fans deserve our full attention, we hope that our announcement today about a comprehensive development program for women's football will provide a message, encouraging everyone. "
As a member of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Football Association and the General Supervisor of Women's Football Development Adwaa Al-Arifi stressed the importance of devoting the passion of the Saudi society for football to enable women and girls to participate and enjoy this game.
She said, “As we go through a special transformation process through the Kingdom's Vision 2030, we want to dedicate our passion for this game to get there."
Al-Arifi added, "Although we are still taking our first steps in this path, we have an ambitious vision, and hosting the 2027 AFC Asian Cup will provide an exceptional opportunity to accelerate our plans for the future.
“This sends a clear message to the girls to move forward towards achieving their aspirations in this sport.” — SG