Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Women’s Premier League kicks-off

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In another historic milestone for women’s football in the Kingdom, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation Women’s Premier League marked its official launch in Riyadh on Thursday.

Last year’s inaugural Regional Women’s Football League was a massive success, crowning three champions across Riyadh (Al Yamamah), Jeddah (Jeddah Eagles) and Dammam (Eastern Flames) and welcoming over 400 players from 16 teams.

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Riyadh side al-Mamlaka then went on to claim the National Championship following an 8-team knockout battle in Jeddah.

Since then, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has restructured the competition to launch the Premier League and First Division League.

The newly launched league has not only captured attention locally but has also welcomed an influx of talented players from across the region and rest of the world.

With a historic prize pool of $380,500, the Premier League will see eight teams compete in two-legged fixtures over the next 14 weeks.

Meanwhile, the First Division League, launching on November 11, will play host to 17 teams from across the Kingdom who will battle over a prize pool of $175,580, with the champion promoted to the Premier League.

The new leagues come on the back of massive progress across all areas of women’s football in Saudi Arabia, from youth development to coaching to refereeing.

Last month, the national team took part in its first-ever matches on home soil against Bhutan, with the first fixture seeing the hosts bounce back from a 3-1 defeat at half-time to claim an epic three-all draw thanks to Bandari al-Mubarak and Nora Ibrahim’s strikes in the closing 15 minutes.

The second match also featured a 6-goal thriller with the visitors getting the upper hand in a 4-2 victory. Led by German head coach Monika Staab, the team made its debut earlier this year with two victories against the Seychelles and Maldives.

Transformative grass roots investment has also been undertaken with the launch of three regional training centers welcoming hundreds of 6 to 17-year-old girls.

Saudi Arabia’s investment in the women’s game also stretches to staging regional tournaments. It recently staged the West Asian Football Federation 3rd Women’s Futsal Championship in Jeddah, with the hosts finishing with a silver medal. SAFF also announced an intention to host the 2026 Women’s AFC Asian Cup, growing the game across the continent, central to the bid.

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