In a significant development, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) in Saudi Arabia is all set to acquire majority stakes in four of the top football clubs in the kingdom.
This move is part of the ongoing efforts of the government to privatize state-owned sports clubs and promote economic diversification through its Vision 2030 plan.
The sports ministry has confirmed that PIF will own 75 percent of Al Ittihad, Al Ahli, Al Nassr, and Al Hilal, all of which compete in the Saudi Professional League.
Unlike clubs in the Premier League and other leagues, Saudi clubs are not bound by financial regulations set by UEFA, enabling the PIF to offer lucrative salaries to players.
This aligns with the goal of increasing the revenue of the Saudi Professional League to 1.8 billion riyals ($480 million) annually by 2030, up from 450 million riyals ($120 million).
It is pertinent to mention here that in addition to the football clubs, other entities in the kingdom will take ownership of various teams to grow influence in the global landscape.
NEOM, the organization behind the futuristic city project, will acquire Al-Suqoor, a Second Division club, and Aramco will own Al-Qadsiah in the First Division.
The Royal Commission for Al-Ula will control Alula FC in the Third Division, and the Diriyah Gate Development Authority will take over Al-Diraiyah FC in the First Division.