Sports in Saudi Arabia |

Sports in Saudi Arabia

Here is an overview of the sports played in Saudi Arabia in teams by expats and nationals.

Posted on

26 September 2013

Last updated on 27 June 2017
Sports in Saudi Arabia

Football is the national sport in Saudi Arabia. In recent years, the sport has grown in popularity, and some Saudi players currently play in Europe.

The Saudi national team has competed in four FIFA World Cup competitions, in 1994, 1998, 2002, and most recently, in 2006. The Saudi team has also competed in seven AFC Asian Cup competitions, first in 1984. Achievements from the AFC Cup include being the Champions in 1984, 1988, and recently, in 1996.

Sports in Saudi Arabia

Basketball is also a popular sport in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Premier League (basketball) has been home to several players who competed at the FIBA Asia Championship and has also attracted some NBA-players.

Rugby union
Rugby union in Saudi Arabia is a minor but growing sport, which has been played for several decades in the Kingdom. Many of the local rugby clubs date back to the late 1970s.

Women’s Sports
Women's sport in Saudi Arabia has been a controversial topic for many years due to the suppression of female participation in sport by conservative Islamic religious authorities. In 2013 Saudi Arabia’s first dedicated sports center for girls was opened in Khobar, offering training programs that include physical fitness, karate, yoga and weight loss as well as special activities for children. That year it was also announced that Saudi Arabian girls are officially allowed to practice sports in private schools, which they had not officially been allowed to do previously, though some had done so unofficially.