Saudi Arabia to host FIFA Club World Cup this year

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia has been announced by FIFA as the hosts of the next edition of the FIFA Club World Cup™, with the tournament scheduled from Dec. 12-22 2023.

The staging of the coveted competition signals the latest major international sports event to be hosted by the country and builds further on the huge positive momentum behind Saudi football in the men’s and women’s game at all levels.

The decision was made at a FIFA Council meeting on Tuesday and comes only a few days after Al Hilal faced Real Madrid having become the first winner of the AFC Champions League and first Saudi club to reach the final of the tournament.

Saudi Arabia will be only the sixth host of the competition since its inception in 2000.

Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal, said: “We are honored and extremely excited to be given the opportunity to welcome the world’s leading football clubs and their fans to Saudi Arabia.

“Many fans will have recently witnessed our ability as a nation to compete at the highest possible level on the pitch. Now we have the chance to prove we are also world-class hosts off it. We look forward to showcasing our genuine love of the game and our desire to be a force for good.”

“Today is another important step forward on our journey of transformation in football and as a country and I trust all involved will see for themselves the undeniable progress being made at many different levels.

“We host international sports for the simple reason that we truly believe in the power of sport to inspire our boys and girls, to create new connections and build new relationships.

“This will mean so much to our people where 70% are under the age of 35 and are absolutely obsessed with football.

” Prince Abdulaziz added: “Football is the much-loved national sport of Saudi Arabia, rooted in communities across all corners of country, where 80% of the population play, attend or follow.

“The awarding of the FIFA World Cup 2023 represents the latest chapter of Saudi football’s development and comes after being confirmed as the 2027 AFC Asian Cup hosts while an active bid to host the 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup continues.”

“Demonstrating the country’s progress, the Saudi Arabian men’s first team marked their sixth FIFA World Cup appearance last year following its best-ever qualification campaign and captured global headlines in Qatar following their victory over eventual champions Argentina.

“Meanwhile their women counterparts have been on a historic run of growth and development since their establishment in 2021 and were recently crowned champions in their first-ever hosted international championship last month.

“The recently formed U-17 squad will hope to follow in their footsteps after undergoing their first training camp this month.”

“Women’s football’s exciting trajectory of growth in Saudi Arabia continues with the conclusion of the inaugural eight-team SAFF Women’s Premier League.

“There has also been a tremendous increase in sports participation across all levels, with over 200,000 girls practicing sports every week and 50,000 taking part in the first-ever Schools League,” he said. –  saudi gazette

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