|Football in Saudi Arabia|
|National team(s)||National team |
Under-23 national team
Under-20 national team
Under-17 national team
Women's national team
|Season||2022–23 in Saudi Arabian football|
Football is the most popular sport in Saudi Arabia. Football in Saudi Arabia is governed by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) (Arabic: الاتحاد السعودي لكرة القدم). It was founded in 1956. It administers both the club competitions and the national football teams of Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Arabia Football Federation founder is Prince Abdullah bin Faisal al Saud.
The Saudi Arabia national football team (Arabic: منتخب السعودية لكرة القدم), is nicknamed as Al-Saqour, which means The Falcons. They are one of the most successful football teams in Asia, winning the Asian Championship three times and qualified to the World Cup six times (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2018, and 2022).
Saudi Arabia has a major rivalry with Iran.
The Saudi Professional League is the highest level of competition in the country. In the 1970s, football was organized on a regional basis across Saudi Arabia.
In the 1976 Saudi Professional League season, with the improvement of transportation links and local football, the league was launched on a national basis. Eight clubs participated in the first season of the tournament.
In 1981, a decision was made by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation to increase the number of clubs to 18 clubs, 8 of which take part in the first league, with the other 10 competing in the second league.
In the 1985 season, the number of clubs in the first league was increased to 12.
In 1990, a league cup was introduced, known as The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques League Cup. It was a two-stage competition, a round-robin and knockout phase. The top four teams (known as the Golden Square) from the round-robin moved to the knock-out phase to compete for the final championship.
In the 2007–08 season, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Champions Cup was introduced for the more elite teams to compete for. Eight teams participate, including the top six teams of the first league, the winner of the Crown Prince Cup, and the Prince Faisal Cup.
Main article: Saudi Arabia national football team
As of 3 April 2023[update], Saudi Arabia is placed 54th in the FIFA World Rankings.
There are four professional football league levels of Saudi Arabia:
The Saudi Professional League was ranked 27th in 2015 by the International Federation of Football.
|1977, 1979, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022|
|1982, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2009 , 2023|
|1980, 1981, 1989, 1994, 1995, 2014, 2015, 2019|
|1991, 1992, 1993, 2004, 2006, 2012|
|1978, 1984, 2016|
Main article: Asian Footballer of the Year
Main article: Football League system in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabia football association football league system is organized in a pyramidal shape similar to football league systems in many other countries. The principle of promotion and relegation binds the leagues.
Main article: Women's football in Saudi Arabia
Women's football is played in Saudi Arabia, but only in the affluent areas, as the country's very restrictive laws (especially those concerning women) inhibit the practice of the sport. In February 2020, Saudi Arabia launched a football league for women.
In November 2016, the government of Saudi Arabia approved plans to turn state-owned sports clubs into private companies. This is part of the economic reforms to reduce Saudi reliance on oil exports and ease financial burdens on the government.