The Saudi Football Federation (SAFF) has announced that it will establish its first official women’s football league at an event to present sport development projects in the country. To report it is the Saudi site Arab News.
“We have many ambitious goals in the coming years to promote women’s football through the launch of the first edition of the team championship, whose players will form the first women’s national team,” said federation president Yasser bin Hassan al-Misehal. The first Saudi women’s football league will be launched in the coming months and aims to reach 1,000 players in the coming years, al-Misehal said.
The federation president also discussed the mission to increase participation in the new Saudi women’s national team until 2025. Over the past two years, the federation has established a women’s football department and Germany’s Monica Staab has been appointed head of the women’s national team.
“Programs will be developed to facilitate the practice of women’s football according to their levels and dedicated courses will be developed and designed for training purposes,” said al-Misehal.
Women’s football was banned in Saudi Arabia until a few years ago and the first tournament started in November. Before 2018, Saudi women could only watch football matches as spectators. Only in 2017 were women allowed to judge, and recently they were allowed to participate in the hajj, the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca, without a male relative to act as a guardian, provided that they leave in groups. It is no coincidence that in the Global Gender Gap Report, introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006, which provides a picture of the gender gap around the world, Saudi Arabia occupies – in 2021 – the 147th place out of 156 countries.