Saudi Pro League sets new strategy; Cook leaves as Allazeez takes on CEO role, Nohra to head league ops

June 8 – With Karim Benzema arriving in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, yesterday, ahead of his Al-Ittihad unveiling later today at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium, the Saudi Pro League (SPL) has reported a record breaking 2022/23 season and promised a new-long term ‘transformation strategy’.

The SPL said that the season just finished had delivered more spectators, increased social media following and more global viewing than ever before. But that is only the start.

The league said that more than 80% of Saudi Arabia’s population either plays, attends or follows football. The government wants the league to reflect that national commitment to the game with increased professional standards and a wider global recognition.

Yesterday, in a landmark move accelerating the Arab Kingdom’s investment in the game, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) took control of Al Nassr – where Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo plays – Al-Ahli, Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal, the 2021 Asian Champions League winner. It was a clear statement of intent with an investment in clubs backing the ambition to establish the SPL as one of the world’s top 10 leagues worldwide.

Further reinforcing PIF’s financial commitment and the government’s future ambitions for the professional game, the SPL said it will soon reveal a new long-term transformation strategy “to help ensure expertise, governance and sustainability”.

Part of this change has been a reshuffling of personnel with Executive Vice Chairman Saad Allazeez becoming the SPL’s interim CEO, taking over from former Manchester City executive Garry Cook’s whose contract ends in July.

Cook is returning to the UK to take up a new, and as yet unnamed, role in football.

“It’s been an extraordinary year, working alongside clubs and partners to begin building a transformative strategy for the Saudi Pro League.,” said Cook.

“The League has come a very long way in such a short period of time, inspiring more fans and followers than ever before.”

With Cook on the way out, experienced and highly regarded sports executive Carlo Nohra is being drafted in as chief of league operations. Nohra is a smart operator, extremely well connected in football, and understands the workings of game in the middle east and the wider Asian Football Confederation.

“Carlo brings a wealth of experience from the world of international sports business and will play a pivotal role, as we look to develop and deliver our ambitious new strategy,” said Allazeez.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1716043988labto1716043988ofdlr1716043988owedi1716043988sni@n1716043988osloh1716043988cin.l1716043988uap1716043988

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