Similar to the major leagues… “Saudi” targets the 20 by 2027
Private sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat a long-term plan to develop the Saudi Professional League, most notably increasing the number of participating teams to twenty clubs, similar to the numbers in major leagues around the world.
According to the same sources, the decision to increase will be made by 2026 or 2027 at the latest, as the decision to increase depends on the readiness of the stadiums currently under construction in Riyadh and Dammam, in addition to the development of the stadiums currently located inside the club’s headquarters.
The Saudi League enters a new phase in the new season, as the number of clubs has been increased to 18 teams for the first time in its history, as the Football Association approved the increase before the start of the last season, with two teams relegated and four teams promoted from the First Division.
Looking at most of the advanced leagues in the rankings around the world, we find that the number of teams participating in the best leagues around the world is twenty teams (English, Spanish, Italian and French) compared to 18 teams for the German League, as well as the leagues of Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium.
In the same context, regarding football competitions, private sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat an upcoming meeting on Monday to discuss the calendar for the new football season, which will start on August 11th, where during the meeting there will be talk about the Saudi Professional League schedule, which is the most prominent Football competitions and their longest.
The meeting of the new season calendar will include the Competitions Committee of the Saudi Football Association, the Competitions Committee of the Saudi Professional League, and the Undersecretary of Facilities in the Ministry of Sports.
The next season will witness many upcoming sporting events hosted by Saudi Arabia, including those related to the first Saudi national team, such as the World Cup qualifiers and the Asian Nations Championship, which will be held in Doha.
The Agency for Facilities Affairs at the Ministry of Sports will present its reports regarding the readiness of the facilities and stadiums for the new football season, in order to set the league schedule and coordinate to host cities for several matches in one day.
Four teams from the capital, Riyadh, will participate, led by Al-Nasr, Al-Hilal and Al-Shabab, in addition to the newly promoted Riyadh Club for the Saudi Professional League, amid the Prince Faisal bin Fahd stadium facility undergoing a restoration process, with which it will not be present in hosting matches during the new season.
Al-Nasr will play its matches at the “Al-Awwal Park” stadium at King Saud University, while Al-Hilal team’s matches will be at King Fahd International Stadium, and Al-Shabab will play its matches at its new stadium at the club’s headquarters. Mass matches to King Fahd International Stadium.
Sports facilities in Saudi Arabia are witnessing comprehensive development operations, in preparation for hosting the 2027 Asian Cup for the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia, as Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium and Prince Muhammad bin Fahd Stadium in Dammam will be absent, in addition to development operations that will also include King Fahd International Stadium as well as Al-Awwal Park Stadium. Except it won’t be next season.
The King Fahd International Stadium in the capital, Riyadh, will continue to host matches in the next season, and may extend to the next season, as Saudi Arabia will host the Club World Cup next December for the first time in its history, and Durrat Al-Mulaeb will be one of the places hosting the matches.
And Saudi clubs will start hosting their matches on their own stadiums, as the case began for the Damak and then Al-Taawon teams last season, provided that Al-Shabab, Al-Itifaq and Al-Fateh join them, as their facilities will be ready early next season.
The new football season will witness pressure in the calendar in terms of club participation or even the Saudi national team, which awaits the “preliminary” World Cup qualifiers, in addition to the 2023 Asian Cup, which will be held in the Qatari capital, Doha, from January 12 to February 10. February) of 2024.
As for the Saudi clubs, they will face the Saudi Professional League and the King’s Cup, while Al-Ittihad, Al-Hilal, Al-Nasr and Al-Wahda teams will participate in the Saudi Super Cup, in terms of local participation.
The current season will witness an increase in the number of Saudi Professional League teams from 16 to 18 teams, while the increase will be in the King’s Cup, which will return to the round of 32 after the previous seasons were limited to the round of sixteen.
With regard to foreign tournaments, the King Salman Cup for Arab Clubs will be the first foreign tournament for Saudi teams.
While Al-Hilal, Al-Ittihad and Al-Fayhaa will participate in the AFC Champions League in its new format for the next season, provided that Al-Nasr will play a qualifying play-off for the tournament, and if it wins, it will join the teams participating in the Asian Championship.
The most prominent participation of Saudi clubs in foreign tournaments will be the participation of the Al-Ittihad team in the Club World Cup, which Saudi Arabia will host for the first time in its history, as the tournament will be held next December.