Saudi Crown Prince MBS Launches Sports Clubs Investment and Privatization Project

Posted on 06/05/2023

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the Sports Clubs Investment and Privatization Project. This initiative aligns with kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals to elevate the sporting scene in Saudi Arabia. Unlike the English Premier League and other European teams, Saudi football clubs are not bound by UEFA’s rules on player spending.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the project’s current status stands at two main tracks.

“The first entails approving the investment of major companies and development agencies in sports clubs in return of transferring the clubs’ ownership to them,” SPA reported. “The second component involves privatizing a number of sports clubs starting from the last quarter of 2023.”

In a move that is aligned with the project, Saudi Arabian government revealed on Monday the transfer of 75 percent of the ownership of Al-Ittihad Saudi Arabian Club, Al-Ahli Saudi Football Club, Al-Nassr Football Club, and the Al-Hilal Saudi Football Club to the Public Investment Fund (PIF).The announcement was made during a news conference held by Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal to discuss the newly launched project.

The PIF already owns Premier League club Newcastle.

“With over 80 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population either playing, attending or following football, the project has a major focus on the country’s national sport, which is also experiencing unprecedented growth,” SPA said.

Jeddah-based Al-Ittihad Saudi Arabian Club is 25% owned by Al-Ittihad Non-Profit Foundation. Al-Ittihad means (United or Union, jointly) in Arabic.

Jeddah-based Al-Ahli Saudi Football Club is 25% owned by Al-Ahli Non-Profit Foundation.

Riyadh-based Al-Nassr Football Club is 25% owned by Al-Nassr Non-Profit Foundation. On December 30, 2022, Al-Nassr signed Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portuguese player left Manchester United by mutual agreement. Ronaldo’s contract runs for two-and-a-half years until summer 2025, with a total salary of €200 million per annum.

Riyadh-based Al-Hilal Saudi Football Club is 25% owned by Al-Hilal Non-Profit Foundation.

Get News, People, and Transactions, Delivered to Your Inbox