The development of the Saudi Women’s Football League (WFL) has been put in place by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) and will see a total of 24 teams, featuring more than 600 players, compete in matches across Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dammam. It is reported that Adwa AlArifi, founder of the Riyadh Female Football Committee, has been appointed by the SAFF to head the department, which aims to “empower women and to encourage them to become active and to participate in sports at the community level”.
Saudi’s first WFL got underway last week, after being previously postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Seven matches took place in the Kingdom‘s capital Riyadh as well as Jeddah on the opening day of the league.
The women’s football league department falls in line with the goals of Saudi’s Vision 2030 and is expected to develop a strategy to promote and expand female participation in women’s football across the Kingdom. It will also raise public awareness of the importance of women‘s engagement in sports, whilst working towards ensuring the participation of Saudi Arabian women’s national teams in many international competitions, such as the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Organized women’s sports in the country have seen big developments over the last two years, with women previously being prohibited to enter public football stadiums in Saudi Arabia. However, in light of the new WFL, the SAFF board of directors have put in place a specialized female football department in order to foster continuous growth. A Twitter account has also been launched by SAFF to help keep the public informed with and developments on the women’s football league.