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Why did Saudi Arabia open the treasury, what is its purpose

By Vipin - September 3, 2023 - Last updated on Sep 03, 2023 04:33 PM
Why did Saudi Arabia open the treasury, what is its purpose

This club of Riyadh has won the AFC Champions League title a record four times and according to this it is also the most successful team in Asia. It is obvious that this club has had an illustrious past but if its supporters are to be believed then a new phase has started from August 19, 2023. On the same day, the famous Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr was presented by the club as their new contracted player in front of 65000 jubilant fans.

When Neymar came onto the pitch in the club's traditional blue jersey amidst colorful fireworks, a drone show showing his face was also performed in the sky of Riyadh.

Speaking at the event, Shariq Al Hilal club fan Abdullah Almutawa told the BBC: "It was a special day for us. Neymar is a big star. He will add many fans to the team with him. According to me, the whole of Brazil will now support us. Everyone will also know the name of the club.

Start with Cristiano Ronaldo

This ambitious project to make Saudi Arabia the center of international football started in January when Al Nasser Club signed Cristiano Ronaldo for a huge amount of $400 million for two and a half years.

After this, other famous stars of the world turned to Saudi Arabia. In the month of June, Karim Benzema left Real Madrid and joined Al Ittihad Club of Jeddah. After this, players like Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, Jordan Henderson and Ngolo Kante have opted to play in the Saudi Pro League instead of the European league.

The Saudi Pro League spent $850 million in transfer fees this summer to sign foreign players. This means that in terms of spending money, Saudi Pro League has reached the second position after the English Premier League.


However, it does not include the money which is being given as attractive salary to attract the players. According to Saudi Pro League Chief Financial Officer Carlo Nohra, this is not just a one-time expense.

According to Nohra, the Saudi Arabian government is committed to providing all possible financial assistance to achieve the objective of making this league one of the best leagues in the world in terms of money and quality.

English Premier League and Spanish La Liga will compete

The purpose of this league is to compete with the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga. Nohra has also told that money will continue to be spent on signing big foreign players to achieve the objective. However, on the other hand efforts are also being made to gain commercial benefits in the name of these players.


Nohra told the BBC, “Financial support will keep coming until we achieve our goal, but it is also important that we make ourselves commercially dependent. So we don't want to depend completely on government help, we are trying to improve our financial resources

Saudi Arabia trying to become a soft power

The world's largest oil exporter has invested billions of dollars in the world of sports in recent years. This includes revamping the Saudi Pro League, Formula One and hosting the lucrative LIV golf tournament.

However, some critics believe that the game is being promoted to divert people's attention from the poor human rights record. Saudi Arabia is also expanding the entertainment industry to diversify its financial system.

On the other hand, regarding this huge investment, some analysts believe that Saudi Arabia's strategy is not just to improve its image or gain prestige.

“Countries around the world use the sports and entertainment industry as a policy tool to project themselves as soft power,” says Simon Chadwick, professor of sports and geopolitical economy at the Paris-based Schema Business School.

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Professor Chadwick says, “This is also an aspect of Saudi Arabia's current policy. We are talking about the competition between the countries of the world to win the hearts and minds of the people. Britain, America, France, India and other countries have implemented this policy. Now Saudi Arabia is also adopting it.

The second most important reason for this huge expenditure of Saudi Arabia is part of a wider effort to strengthen the other rungs of the economy before oil revenue declines.

Currently, oil revenue accounts for more than 40% of Saudi Arabia's GDP. Sports is one of the main pillars of the government's Vision 2030 project, run by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the ruler of Saudi Arabia.

Promoting football is part of Vision 2030

The program aims to reduce the country's dependence on oil revenues by creating new industries and creating jobs.

Carlo Nohra says, “One of the main objectives, as part of Vision 2030 is to provide entertainment for the people of Saudi Arabia and at the same time, develop local talents that will raise the level of the Saudi Pro League in the long run ." People in Saudi Arabia are interested in football, where 80 percent of the population either plays, watches or follows this game.


It is too early to conclude whether this huge investment will yield any benefits, but this strategy has certainly made clear the Gulf country's desire to become a football powerhouse.

Also Read: Babar Azam or Virat Kohli – who has the upper hand

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