Saudi Women Are Regaining Spotlight In Football, One Goal At A Time

In Saudi Arabia, an arena witnessing significant strides is football. With a reported 150 percent increase in female participation since 2015, the Ministry of Sports is witnessing a historic shift.

Ishika Thanvi
New Update
sPhoto by -/AFP via Getty Imagesaudi women football team

Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images

In Saudi Arabia, women are carving out their space in various domains, aligning with the nation's aspirations for diversity and inclusivity. One such arena witnessing significant strides is football. With a reported 150 percent increase in female participation since 2015, the Ministry of Sports is witnessing a paradigm shift,  igniting a transformation within the country's sports landscape.


A Flourishing Landscape: Women's Football in Saudi Arabia

Currently, there are 1,100 registered female football players affiliated with Saudi clubs, marking a substantial presence within the sport. These players engage through regional training centres and national teams, symbolizing an increasing interest and commitment to the game. Spearheading this movement is the Women’s Football Department, which diligently fosters grassroots development, evidenced by the initiation of various local competitions, including the Premier League.

Celebrating Achievements: The Premier League Finale

The conclusion of the 2023-2024 Premier League season was not just about crowning champions; it was a testament to the determination of female athletes in Saudi Arabia. As Al-Nassr clinched victory against Al-Ittihad, the Al-Awwal Park Stadium radiated with joy, symbolizing the triumph of perseverance and talent.

Hiwar 2024: A Platform for Women's Empowerment

In a significant stride towards recognizing female icons in football, Hiwar 2024, PepsiCo's flagship event for women empowerment, provided a platform for industry leaders to share their insights and experiences. Collaborating with the SAFF’s Women’s League, the event featured a panel discussion moderated by Mo Islam, highlighting the contributions of key figures like Aalia Al-Rasheed, Sara Khalid, Kelly Lindsey, and Anfal Al-Duhilan.


Inspiring Stories: Women Leading the Charge

Sara Khalid, a prominent figure in Saudi women's football, reflects on her journey from balancing a day job to representing her nation on an international stage. Her story epitomizes the dedication and the resolve to pave the way for future generations of female athletes. Similarly, Kelly Lindsey, as a coach, emphasizes the importance of fostering a supportive environment within teams, acknowledging cultural nuances and holistic player development.

Saudi Arabia's commitment to women's sports is evident through substantial investments, exemplified by the SAFF's allocation of SR49.9 million ($13 million) to women's football programs. This support extends beyond financial backing, shaping a narrative of empowerment and inclusivity. PepsiCo.'s sponsorship of the 2023-24 Saudi Women’s Premier League further represents the collective effort towards realizing the nation's vision for 2030.

Towards a Brighter Future

As Anfal Al-Duhilan articulates, sponsorship aligns with PepsiCo.'s vision of promoting diversity and inclusion, echoing Saudi Arabia's aspirations for progress. By providing opportunities for women to pursue their passions, whether in sports or other fields, a ripple effect of positive change is set in motion. Through dialogue, investment, and support, Saudi women are not just entering the realm of football; they are redefining it, one goal at a time.

Women in Football women of Saudi Arabia female footballers