Embarrassing, EPL star striker played…”What an embarrassing league”

Another ‘shocking underbelly’ of Saudi soccer revealed.

Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in developing a world-class league. That’s why it’s been so keen on recruiting the world’s best players from Europe. Superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nasr), Karim Benzema (Al Ittihad), Neymar (Al Hilal), and many more have made their way to the kingdom.

Leading the charge is Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has a whopping £343 billion ($580 billion) in assets. They are paying Ronaldo and Benzema the world’s highest salaries, €200 million ($295.6 billion). It’s a league beyond imagination. 

But it’s all money and no progress. You’re losing at the box office. Despite the superstar signings, there are reports of declining average attendance. The stars are making record money and the league is not growing at all. As time goes on, the league is becoming less competitive.

The clincher came last month. On April 10, the UK’s Daily Star reported, “A crowd of 294 people turned up for a match between Al-Fayha and Al-Oqdud in the Saudi Arabian league. Saudi Arabia is in trouble again. Saudi Arabia is suffering from low attendance. 294 people, a truly embarrassing number. Ronaldo came to Saudi Arabia, followed by many other star athletes to the Middle East. However, the ticket sales that many expected didn’t materialize. The stadium’s minimum attendance of 294 people is not a record. Surprisingly, in September, 281 spectators came to the stadium,” the report said.

Then came another shocker. On September 9, 445 people attended a league match between Al Fayha and Al Fateh, local time.

“Only 445 fans showed up at the stadium to watch the rivals face off in the Saudi Professional League, and the country is very embarrassed by this pathetic attendance,” the outlet reported.

“The match between Al-Fayha and Al-Fateh ended in a 2-2 draw. It was a match between the sixth and seventh place teams in the league. Only 445 fans gathered at the King Salman Sports City Stadium to watch the match. Saudi Arabia is suffering from low attendance. It’s a real predicament. Al-Fayha is the same team that drew 281 fans in September,” he added.

Last weekend’s league match between Al Hazem and Al Riyadh drew 305 spectators, especially since Al Riyadh is home to EPL star striker Andre Gray, who has played for Watford, Brentford, and more. He’s been with the team since 2023. Nevertheless, the crowd was only 305 people. 

The Daily Star reported, “305 fans turned up to watch former EPL star Gray. The Saudis were very embarrassed. The Saudi 토토사이트 league has seen low attendance in recent years. The match between the two teams was drawn 1-1, and the attendance was an embarrassment, especially since Gray is a striker who has been coveted by rich Middle Eastern clubs to succeed Ronaldo. But it didn’t translate into ticket sales.” 

In response to the low box office, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports said, “The low attendance is due to the fact that we are still in the early stages. We are laying the foundation. Next year we will have more spectators. The Big Match is setting new attendance records. We are also broadcasting to 147 countries around the world. When we planned to develop the league, we didn’t expect this pace, but we will continue to develop the league. We’re going to attract the best players in the world. We will create the best league in the world.” 

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