Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts in rebranding Saudi Arabia as encompassed in the Saudi Vision 2030 are yielding results in sports with the latest movement of super star Neymar Jr., among other top world football stars, to the Saudi Pro League.
The 31-year-old Brazilian had, on Monday, completed his move to Saudi Pro League’s Al Hilal, from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), after a six-year spell in the French club, by signing a contract worth 160 million euros over two seasons.
Neymar’s move is believed to have been inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr. The move also adds to those of the likes of Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane, Riyad Marez, N’Golo Kante, and Roberto Firmino, among others.
The Saudi Vision 2030 is built around three main themes that are to be achieved by 2030. One of these is the creation of a vibrant society – urbanism, culture and entertainment, sports, Umrah, UNESCO heritage sites, and life expectancy. This theme is backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
Bin Salman’s dream is for the Saudi Pro League’s revenue to hit 440 million dollars a year by 2030 from the current 110 million, with the market value to rise to about 2 billion in the same period.
The Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Sports had in June, announclmaned that the Public Investment Fund would take control of four of the country’s leading football clubs. The Fund, which in October 2021 took ownership of Newcastle United FC, along with other, owns 75 percent of Al Hilal, Al Ahli, Al Nassr, and Al Ittihad.
The government is also set to privatize other state-owned sports clubs.