Saudi Arabia announces new Mahd Sports Academy with Jose Mourinho, FIFA chief

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Saudi Arabian unveiled on Monday its plan for a mega sports academy aimed at producing a new generation of Saudi Arabian athletes.

The Kingdom’s Ministry of Sports outlined the plans for the Mahd Sports Academy in a ceremony involving football manager Jose Mourinho and FIFA President Gianni Infantino in Riyadh.

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Saudi Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal announced the launch of the project, which will reportedly be one of the largest sporting academies in the world, split between the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam.

“Tonight, I announce to you Mahd Sports Academy with the objective to discover, develop new talents and to create a new generation of champions in various sports over the coming decades,” said Prince Abdulaziz.

“We have numerous talents that need development’ – that’s been said and repeated in our sports community and I’m one of them. It’s time we pay attention to our local talents and work on their improvement," he added.

According to the Saudi Gazette, the construction of the academy will begin at the Ministry of Sports headquarters in Riyadh in 2021, followed the next year in Jeddah. The construction of the academy headquarters in the Green Hall area of Dammam in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province is set to be completed by 2023.

The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan aims to develop sports as a sector to diversify the economy away from reliance on oil revenues and attract tourism.

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