The Saudi Pro League (SPL) is a highly competitive and well-funded league that aims to become the centre of attention for football fans worldwide. With a strong presence and abundant resources, it has quickly established itself as the most financially rewarding league globally. With Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman leading the way and the nation’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) providing unlimited financial support, the SPL has attracted renowned European players and has become the focal point of the footballing world, at least in terms of media coverage.

By Mbali Mthembu

Saudi Arabia is offering large amounts of money to attract the world’s best players to their unknown football league, to make their league the best in the world in the long run.

In an interview with Reuters, Carlo Nohra, the Chief Operating Officer of the Saudi Pro League (SPL), expressed confidence in the country’s strategy of signing top football players to attract fans to stadiums. They anticipate that this trend will be evident during the 2023-24 season.

According to, a news organisation in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, the largest exporter of oil globally, has been making efforts to attract global attention through sports.

“Saudi has thrown hundreds of millions at sports deals, including Ronaldo’s capture, Formula One in Jeddah, and the lucrative LIV Golf tour, drawing frequent claims it is ‘sportswashing’ its human rights record,” reads the report.

According to the news organisation, Saudi Arabia’s geopolitical relationships have undergone a significant transformation that has attracted global attention. Additionally, the nation’s cultural policies in the past five years have also caught the interest of tourists and other international markets.

“The country in its latest sensational development intends to change the epicentre of world football. For the first time in decades, Europe is likely to face tough competition to hold on to its prestige as big-name players have switched alliances over the last few months,” writes

Saudi clubs have invested large sums of money at the end of the season to acquire players from top European teams. These signings include Karim Benzema, who won the Ballon d’Or while playing for Real Madrid, Jordan Henderson, the captain of Liverpool, and Riyad Mahrez, who won the treble with Manchester City.

This trend started shortly after Al-Nassr signed Cristiano Ronaldo in December, with reports suggesting he earns over $200 million per year. Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr has paved the way for many other professionals to join Middle Eastern clubs, as the financial offers they receive are becoming increasingly difficult to turn down.

Before the beginning of the upcoming season, the nation secured the services of popular players and renowned figures like Sadio Mane, who will be joining Ronaldo at Al-Nassr, Roberto Firmino, who will be playing for Al-Ahli Saudi, and Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, who will be joining Al Hilal.

According to Transfermarket, the Saudi league is currently ranked as the fifth-highest spender in the transfer window, surpassing Spain’s La Liga.

The Saudi Pro League has become the centre of attention, with news primarily focusing on clubs making significant transfer bids for renowned players. With no financial regulations in place, Saudi Pro clubs are offering players higher salaries than what they previously earned at their former clubs.

Thato Nyembe, a passionate football fan and supporter of Ronaldo, told The Telegram that he now considers the Saudi League as his preferred league to watch due to its significant acquisitions.

“When you have some of the biggest names in European football in Saudi Arabia then the games are bound to be a thrill to watch for sure. Already a match between Ronaldo’s side and Benzema’s side during the league’s cup attracted thousands of viewers because these are two big legends in their rights. So, Saudi is growing its football and attracting more viewership. The Saudi Pro League is the next big league, in my own opinion,” said Nyembe.

Nyembe also mentioned that Asia is pushing boundaries and making a positive impact by investing in a sport that is widely regarded as the most popular sport globally.

“Football brings people together no matter the race, gender, or religion when we as fans support the same team, we consider ourselves as one. Therefore, what Asia is doing is showing other countries that football is a powerful tool that can generate revenue for the economy and place a country on the map,” he said.

According to Nohra, Saudi Arabia aims to develop football within their country and establish itself as one of the top leagues globally. They are also bidding to host the FIFA World Cup in 2030, as this would be crucial in transforming their international political and economic status.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *