Soccer bonanza: Saudi national league matches to be free-to-air

Saudi fans wave the national flag and chant during the 2018 World Cup qualifying football match between Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah on October 11 2016 . (AFP)
Updated 04 October 2017

Soccer bonanza: Saudi national league matches to be free-to-air

JEDDAH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered all the Kingdom’s football league matches be free-to-air, stressing that it is people’s right to watch the league at no cost.
Turki Al-Asheikh, head of the General Sports Authority and adviser at the Royal Court, said the crown prince has instructed the authority not to encrypt matches and deprive Saudis of watching their favorite teams playing.
“The crown prince directed that citizens should (be able to) watch the league for free and we are now looking for a mechanism that benefits all parties concerned: Sports clubs and carrier/broadcasters without affecting the people,” Al-Asheikh said in an interview on “Action Ya Dawry,” sports show.
“So the matches will be free. There may be some encryption for broadcasting the highest quality, exclusive programs, specific analysis studios and software services to benefit the sports club and the carrier/broadcaster, as well as the viewer who will benefit from these additional services,” he added.
Remarking on the crown prince’s involvement in the order, Al-Asheikh said: “Such a decision wouldn’t have been taken without his support.”
The decision came after several media outlets reported that the channels owning the league’s rights had decided to encrypt the league from the beginning of the next sports season.

The Saudi professional league had officially requested FIFA encode the league matches from August 2018 when the season starts.
The league made a joint request at its meeting requesting that the encryption of league matches was accelerated to help save clubs financially.
Meanwhile sport fans have inevitably reacted positively to the ruling, praising the Crown Prince.


First Lifestyle Enhancement Conference in Saudi Arabia puts spotlight on healthy living

Updated 6 min 14 sec ago

First Lifestyle Enhancement Conference in Saudi Arabia puts spotlight on healthy living

  • The LEC brought together globally renowned experts on health care, wellness, medicine and alternative therapies to discuss some of the most pressing issues of today
  • The conference highlighted the importance of healthy choices, nutrition, and physical activity

RIYADH: The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and in association with the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya), has held the first Lifestyle Enhancement Conference (LEC) in Riyadh.

The LEC, focusing on the emerging science of lifestyle medicine and preventative nutrition, took place on Dec. 7-8, 2019, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh.
The LEC brought together globally renowned experts on health care, wellness, medicine and alternative therapies to discuss some of the most pressing issues of today. The conference highlighted the importance of healthy choices, nutrition, and physical activity to help prevent obesity and diseases such as diabetes.
“The Saudi Sports for All Federation champions physical activity and fitness as a major tenet of increasing health and welfare. As part of our mission to enhance the quality of life in the Kingdom, we are also advocating for conscientious nutrition,” said Ms. Shaima Saleh Alhusseini, managing director at the SFA. “The Lifestyle Enhancement Conference, staged in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Weqaya, is the first event to bring together top caliber medical professionals to facilitate the increase of health education levels in Saudi Arabia.”
Speaking at the conference, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, president of the Saudi Sports for All Federation, said: “Diseases such as diabetes and obesity are increasing at an alarming rate in the region and becoming a major cause of worry. We are seeing that the lack of sports participation and physical activity, combined with substandard health education, are all contributing factors to poor health. Adopting a healthy and balanced lifestyle are among the top factors needed to prevent these diseases. As an organization focused on a healthy public, we seek to engage and communicate on measures that contribute to prevention.
“The SFA endeavors to counter the health threats that our society faces. We aim to contribute to proactive, healthy behaviors by hosting experts from various branches of health, fitness, wellness and medicine together to discuss and share insights on prevention and alternative remedies to these diseases.”
Saudi Vision 2030 has outlined its goals for a more physically fit population by increasing student participation in sport by 25 percent and increase the number of fitness coaches in the country. The LEC aims to proactively address this target by also adding health education metrics to its national campaigns.
The event’s presentations and panel discussions presented the importance of exercise and nutrition for mental and physical wellbeing, highlighting prevention and treatment measures for different types of diseases.
Attended by medical and health care professionals, nutritionists, wellness experts, sports and fitness coaches, physical therapists, and students of the related fields, the LEC’s inaugural edition was a resounding success.
The SFA intends to build on the LEC’s positive reception in Saudi Arabia by continuing its close cooperation with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health and Weqaya to establish an annual event open to the public.
SFA, a proactive community sport and wellness organization founded to promote a healthy lifestyle in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, aims to provide access to opportunities for all members of society to practice physical activity.
Partnering with government organizations, sports delivery bodies, sports federations, and the wider public and private sector to achieve its goals, the SFA focuses on increasing physical activity and health and wellness metrics across the country. The increase of physical activity is achieved by advancing four strategic priorities: education, community and volunteering, fitness and wellbeing, and campaigns and promotion.
It does this by designing recreational sports programs tailored for women, men, youth, the elderly and persons with disabilities across Saudi Arabia.