Outsiders just got a slight hint of how passionate we in Saudi are about Football when the country made it to the World Cup Finals after about 12 years. But there are many other things that prove our love for the sport that outsiders don’t know.
1. From the alleyways in small towns to gargantuan stadiums, it is played everywhere.
2. And when we say gargantuan, they really are gargantuan – just look at the size of this one.
3. Called the Jawahara, this stadium, in particular, is good enough to host world cup matches.
4. Local football fans have even coined new words and phrases in Arabic related to the sport like Kullu Harris, Shammet and Anani.
5. Footballers are kind of like the biggest celebrities here from being brand ambassadors of many brands to gracing the cover of magazines they are everywhere.
6. There is even a widely popular local newspaper called Al Riyadiya that is dedicated to sports and as expected most of it is just related to football.
7. The local football league called the Saudi Professional League is one of the biggest leagues in the Arab World.
8. It is hard for one to go out of their homes and not come across a child wearing a T-shirt of their favorite football club.
9. Some local football clubs have even developed their own stores that sell branded merchandise.
10. To make the local matches on par with international standards some of the best foreign referees officiate local matches.