In light of the ongoing developments in the Saudi sports sector, especially on the level of women participation after the appointment of two ladies in the Saudi football federation, and the permission given to women to enter sport stadiums and events, the women football clubs hope to mark a presence under the sport authority’s umbrella.
The women football fans wish to see their hopes fulfilled as part of the ongoing efforts aiming to promote health, quality of life and community sports, all under the Saudi vision 2030.
Lina Al-Maeena, member of the Saudi Shoura Council and Jeddah United Foundation, said that 15 year ago, she established a private team and handled its training and progress.
“I worked to promote the club under a commercial umbrella, and I managed to overcome many obstacles and difficulties,” she added, noting that she is optimistic about major upcoming developments such as building an organizational structure and launching community sports programs.
“We do not deny that there is a significant development in the women sport sector in Saudi Arabia. One of the most important developments is the appointment of Princess Rima Bint Bandar and two other women as members of the Saudi Football Federation. The contribution of those women sports staff will certainly have a huge impact,” Maeena said.
Saudi Arabia has now more than 15 women football teams. The most recent team is the newly established Royal Lyons team in Riyadh, along with many similar teams in other cities such as Jeddah and Dammam.
“This club is the fruit of dreams and painstaking efforts. We look forward to harnessing the players’ physical and artistic potentials to create a team that meet their dreams of participating in local and regional tournaments,” said Taline al-Abd al-Mohsen, team manager and football coach at AC Milan Academy and co-partner in the Royals Lyons club.
The new team includes more than twenty football players, and offers a privacy atmosphere for women, especially in Saudi Arabia.
Abd al-Mohsen told Asharq Al-Awsat that the team has the support of many sports companies, which introduced a free stadium as part of an initiative to back the team, along with a number of academies that provided the team with the required consultancy.
The Royal Lions’ coach asserted that the Sports Authority set no regulations concerning the establishment of teams or the selection of their names. But, laws and regulations are expected to be endorsed to organize the participation of women sports teams in light of the ongoing mobility and development, and the appointment of two women members in the Football federation, Adwa’ Arifi and Haifa al-Sabab, who will play an important role in highlighting women’s football.
Taline said her team aspires to form a large base of talented players to become the core of the Saudi national women team and represent the Kingdom in regional and international forums.