Saudi-born expatriate footballers allowed to play for local teams

Saudi-born expatriate footballers allowed to play for local teams
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Published March 2nd, 2015 - 17:25 GMT via

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Abdul Latif Jameel League logo
Abdul Latif Jameel League logo

Football players born in Saudi Arabia have been given the green light to play for club teams after the Saudi Arabian Football Federation relaxed its rule on expatriates looking for playing opportunities in the local league.

The decision is expected to benefit the 16 sports clubs, which can now recruit two Saudi-born expats for their First Division teams in the Saudi League.

Also, the federation aims to rope in talented expat football players as it took notice of their contributions to Gulf national teams, according to a local daily.

However, clubs could face obstacles in case they earn promotion to the Premier League (Abdul Latif Jameel League) in that these players will have to be reclassified as foreign players. At the same time, Saudi-born players will remain without a sponsor if their clubs wantto get rid of them.

The official SFF spokesman, Adnan Al-Moiabed, had promised to solve such obstacles after reviewing a comprehensive study as Saudi born players' cases are tied to the Ministry of the Interior.

Ali Omer, a member at Al-Ittihad football club in Jeddah, welcomed this decision as first step to open the door to Saudi born players and be an essential part of Saudi sports. However, he admitted gray areas remain in the decision.

Omer said Saudi born players must take this opportunity to prove themselves skillful football players and deserve to have the Saudi citizenship.

"However, there has to be a clear mechanism to benefit from Saudi born talents," he added.

Copyright: Arab News © 2015 All rights reserved.

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