Saudi Games 2023 Opening Ceremony Tickets Now Available

The ceremony will take place at King Fahd International Stadium (File Photo AAWSAT)
The ceremony will take place at King Fahd International Stadium (File Photo AAWSAT)
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Saudi Games 2023 Opening Ceremony Tickets Now Available

The ceremony will take place at King Fahd International Stadium (File Photo AAWSAT)
The ceremony will take place at King Fahd International Stadium (File Photo AAWSAT)

The organizing committee of the Saudi Games 2023 announced the availability of tickets for the opening ceremony of the 2nd edition of the games.

The ceremony will take place at King Fahd International Stadium on November 27 with a general entrance ticket priced at SAR35.

Tickets can be purchased through the website: Tickets.saudigames.sa.

The opening ceremony will feature a diverse and distinctive program, including artistic and sports performances, as well as light displays creating an artistic tableau throughout the Stadium, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

There will also be a procession of participating athletes, fireworks displays, and the lighting of the Saudi Games' torch.



Silva, Grealish Score as Man City Fights Back to Beat Luton 2-1 in Premier League

Jack Grealish of Manchester City celebrates the win during the English Premier League match between Luton Town and Manchester City in Luton, Britain, 10 December 2023. (EPA)
Jack Grealish of Manchester City celebrates the win during the English Premier League match between Luton Town and Manchester City in Luton, Britain, 10 December 2023. (EPA)
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Silva, Grealish Score as Man City Fights Back to Beat Luton 2-1 in Premier League

Jack Grealish of Manchester City celebrates the win during the English Premier League match between Luton Town and Manchester City in Luton, Britain, 10 December 2023. (EPA)
Jack Grealish of Manchester City celebrates the win during the English Premier League match between Luton Town and Manchester City in Luton, Britain, 10 December 2023. (EPA)

Manchester City ended its four-match winless run in the Premier League by coming from behind to beat Luton 2-1 thanks to two goals in a three-minute span by Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish on Sunday.

Elijah Adebayo headed in Andros Townsend’s cross at the back post in the second minute of first-half stoppage time to give Luton the lead against the run of play at Kenilworth Road.

Luton led Arsenal at home after an hour on Tuesday only to lose and the same thing happened against City, which equalized when Silva pounced on the loose ball following a tackle on Rodri and curled a finish into the bottom corner in the 62nd.

Grealish then converted a cross to the far post by Julian Alvarez in the 65th to earn City a win after three straight draws — to Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham — followed by a loss at Aston Villa on Wednesday.

City was without Erling Haaland because he was sidelined with a foot injury but the return from suspension of Rodri and Grealish proved vital as the defending champions moved four points behind first-place Liverpool. City remained in fourth place, however, also behind Arsenal and Villa after 16 games.

Without the comeback, City manager Pep Guardiola would have stumbled into his worst streak of results in his coaching career, having never gone five matches without a win.


Atletico Madrid Beats Last-Place Almeria for 17th Consecutive Spanish League Win at Home

Football - LaLiga - Atletico Madrid v Almeria - Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - December 10, 2023 Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann scores their first goal before getting ruled out after a VAR review. (Reuters)
Football - LaLiga - Atletico Madrid v Almeria - Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - December 10, 2023 Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann scores their first goal before getting ruled out after a VAR review. (Reuters)
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Atletico Madrid Beats Last-Place Almeria for 17th Consecutive Spanish League Win at Home

Football - LaLiga - Atletico Madrid v Almeria - Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - December 10, 2023 Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann scores their first goal before getting ruled out after a VAR review. (Reuters)
Football - LaLiga - Atletico Madrid v Almeria - Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - December 10, 2023 Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann scores their first goal before getting ruled out after a VAR review. (Reuters)

Atletico Madrid regained third place in the Spanish league by defeating last-place Almeria 2-1 for its 17th straight home win on Sunday.

Álvaro Morata and Ángel Correa scored a goal each in the first half as Atletico extended its biggest ever home winning run in the competition. Almeria pulled a goal back through Léo Baptistão in the second half.

Atletico moved to 34 points, even with fourth-place Barcelona ahead of the rival's home game against second-place Girona later Sunday. Atletico will have a game in hand after the weekend's round. Real Madrid, which drew 1-1 with Real Betis on Saturday, has a one-point lead over Girona.

Atletico was coming off a 1-0 loss at Barcelona in the previous league round. It had won 11 of its last 13 matches in all competitions before that defeat in Barcelona.

"We know there's still a long way to go. We lost the other day but it wasn't the end of it," Atletico forward Antoine Griezmann said. "We have to keep playing like this."

Atletico's last setback at home in the league was a 1-1 draw with Getafe in February.

Morata opened the scoring on Sunday in the 17th minute after dribbling past a defender and then the goalkeeper inside the area. Correa added to the lead five minutes later from close range after a low cross by Marcos Llorente.

The assist for Morata's goal came from Griezmann, who had a goal disallowed for offside in the fifth minute. The France forward remains three goals shy of the 173 scored by Luis Aragonés, the club's all-time leading scorer.

Baptistão scored from close range for Almeria in the 62nd.

It was the 12th league loss for the club from southern Madrid, which remains the only team without a win this season. It stayed on four points from four draws. The Saudi-owned club this week was eliminated by fourth-division team Barbastro in the second round of the Copa del Rey.


Zamalek Maintain Perfect CAF Cup Record

Zamalek’s starting eleven pose for a group picture during the Lusail Super Cup football match at the Lusail Stadium on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital Doha on September 9, 2022. (File: AFP)
Zamalek’s starting eleven pose for a group picture during the Lusail Super Cup football match at the Lusail Stadium on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital Doha on September 9, 2022. (File: AFP)
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Zamalek Maintain Perfect CAF Cup Record

Zamalek’s starting eleven pose for a group picture during the Lusail Super Cup football match at the Lusail Stadium on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital Doha on September 9, 2022. (File: AFP)
Zamalek’s starting eleven pose for a group picture during the Lusail Super Cup football match at the Lusail Stadium on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital Doha on September 9, 2022. (File: AFP)

Ahmed 'Zizo' Sayed scored as Zamalek of Egypt maintained a perfect CAF Confederation Cup group record with a 1-0 win over Esperanca Sagrada of Angola in Alexandria on Saturday.

The 27-year-old winger struck on 42 minutes with a low shot across Congolese goalkeeper Nathan Keletshum and into the far corner of the net.

After a tougher than expected Group B win over the Angolan outfit, Zamalek have nine points, Salim and Esperanca three each and SOAR none, AFP reported.

Confederation Cup debutants Salim do not have an international-standard home ground so they will host Academie on Sunday in the Algerian city of Annaba.

Group winners and runners-up qualify for the quarter-finals of a competition whose 14 previous title-holders include Zamalek in 2019.


'Great Feeling' for Salah After Landmark Liverpool Goal

Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah. (AFP)
Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah. (AFP)
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'Great Feeling' for Salah After Landmark Liverpool Goal

Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah. (AFP)
Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah. (AFP)

Mohamed Salah admitted his 200th Liverpool goal was a "great feeling" as the Egypt star urged his side to do "something special" in the Premier League title race.

Salah's landmark strike inspired Liverpool's fightback from a goal down to win 2-1 at 10-man Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp's side stole the points thanks to Harvey Elliott's stoppage-time winner, AFP reported.

But it was Salah's deflected equaliser following Jordan Ayew's dismissal that sparked Liverpool's escape act.

Salah's 14th goal this term made him the fifth player to score 200 for Liverpool in all competitions after Ian Rush (346), Roger Hunt (285), Gordon Hodgson (241) and Billy Liddell (228).

"The most important thing was that we won the game. It's a great feeling. I'm happy for the record and that we won the game," Salah said.

Liverpool left Selhurst Park on top of the table, although second-placed Arsenal would reclaim pole position with a win at Aston Villa later on Saturday.

Regardless of Liverpool's position by the end of the weekend, Salah sees signs they can win the club's first title since 2020.

"I see the mentality to keep fighting until the end. We keep doing that. We have a new team now because there's six or seven players," he said.

"We need to give them advice. They're learning a lot and they're really nice. We can do something special this year."

Saluting the crucial contribution of substitute Elliott, Salah added: "He's a good kid. he's learning. I like to push him in the gym.

"He will have a good career. If he wants to speak then just come to me."

Klopp, who characterized the Reds' first 75 minutes as "horrendous", revealed staff had been travelling with a shirt to mark Salah's milestone moment for the past two weeks.

He was relieved to finally hand it to the 31-year-old in the visitors' dressing room.

"That's pretty much the best moment to score it to be 100 per cent honest. It's an incredible number for a super special player," he said.

"I don't know how often he's saved us with a goal he scored in the right moment. It was a pretty loud reception in the dressing room when I gave him the shirt.

"Now that's off his shoulders because when you have 199 it is probably different to 198, so now we can go for the next 100."

On Liverpool's title chances, Klopp added: "In this period of the year, I said it after the win at Sheffield United, we have to get through this, we need results.

"Seventy five minutes really bad game from us. But nobody is in for the Oscar award, best football game ever, it's about three points we got them and we are more than happy."


Saudi Sports Minister Meets with International Olympic Committee President

The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat
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Saudi Sports Minister Meets with International Olympic Committee President

The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Sports and President of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee (SOPC), met in Riyadh on Saturday with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Dr. Thomas Bach.

The visit marks Bach’s third since being elected as the IOC’s president in 2013.

It underscores the robust relationship between the two sides, in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

This vision has positioned the Kingdom as a permanent hub for global sports through the hosting of several significant sporting events. Among these are the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2025, the Asian Winter Games TROJENA 2029, and the Asian Games Riyadh 2034, in addition to numerous championships and sporting events.


Conflict Forces Palestinian Team Jabal Al Mukaber to Withdraw from AFC Cup

An aerial picture shows displaced Palestinians who fled Khan Yunis setting up camp in Rafah further south near the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt, on December 7, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and Hamas. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
An aerial picture shows displaced Palestinians who fled Khan Yunis setting up camp in Rafah further south near the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt, on December 7, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and Hamas. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
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Conflict Forces Palestinian Team Jabal Al Mukaber to Withdraw from AFC Cup

An aerial picture shows displaced Palestinians who fled Khan Yunis setting up camp in Rafah further south near the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt, on December 7, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and Hamas. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
An aerial picture shows displaced Palestinians who fled Khan Yunis setting up camp in Rafah further south near the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt, on December 7, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and Hamas. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

Palestinian club Jabal Al Mukaber have withdrawn from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup as a result of the Israel-Gaza conflict, the region's governing body has announced.
A statement on the AFC's official website said the Palestine Football Association had informed the Kuala Lumpur-based organization of Jabal Al Mukaber's decision to pull out of the continent's second-tier club competition.
"The AFC notes the club's withdrawal with regret and the matter has now been referred to the AFC Competitions Committee for relevant further action, including the recognition of force majeure," Reuters quoted the confederation as saying.

Jabal Al Mukaber had been drawn in Group A of the competition and had won their opening game 1-0 against Syria's Al-Futuwa before losing 4-0 to Al-Nahda from Oman prior to the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
The withdrawal means all of Jabal Al Mukaber's results will be cancelled and considered null and avoid, in accordance with AFC tournament regulations.
The move is the latest to affect Palestinian teams as a result of the conflict.


Messi Has Brought 'Transformational Year' For MLS Says Garber

Lionel Messi shakes hands with MLS Commissioner Don Garber after defeating Nashville to win the Leagues Cup final in August - AFP
Lionel Messi shakes hands with MLS Commissioner Don Garber after defeating Nashville to win the Leagues Cup final in August - AFP
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Messi Has Brought 'Transformational Year' For MLS Says Garber

Lionel Messi shakes hands with MLS Commissioner Don Garber after defeating Nashville to win the Leagues Cup final in August - AFP
Lionel Messi shakes hands with MLS Commissioner Don Garber after defeating Nashville to win the Leagues Cup final in August - AFP

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber says his league has enjoyed a "transformational year" crediting the arrival of Lionel Messi and the broadcast deal with Apple TV for unprecedented interest.

But while he said North America would become the "epicenter" of the game with the World Cup, Copa America and FIFA Club World Cup all coming to the region, Garber acknowledged squeezing in all the club and country competitions was a headache.

In his annual "state of the league" address ahead of Saturday's MLS Cup final between Columbus Crew and Los Angeles FC, Garber said MLS was trending upwards in all key areas.

"Lionel Messi had many options for the next chapter of his iconic soccer career. The magnitude of his decision to join MLS cannot be over-stated," Garber said.

"A World Cup champion, an eight-time Ballon d'Or winner is playing in our league. We're not just part of the global conversation of sports but one of the biggest stories in the world, certainly one of the biggest stories this summer," added Garber, AFP reported.

Messi's arrival early in a new 10-year global streaming deal with Apple TV meant "more fans watch MLS games here and around the world than ever before" said Garber, without revealing overall audience figures from Apple.

MLS has also seen rising numbers of fans in stadiums across the country with the derby between Los Angeles FC and Los Angeles Galaxy attracting a league record 82,110 to the Rose Bowl on July 4.

Garber said there had been a record of "nearly 12 million fans" at MLS games throughout the year and also hailed the new Leagues Cup, held jointly with clubs from Mexico's Liga MX, as a "smashing success".

The tournament in the middle of the MLS regular season was won by Messi and Inter Miami and the World Cup-style format won over my skeptics.

"It was a success on every measure and as with so many things this year went on to exceed so many of our expectations. It is only the beginning. This is a tournament which will continue to grow in scale, in scope and reach in the years ahead," he said.

But the addition of Leagues Cup games comes into a calander that will be squeezed by the major tournaments coming to the USA in the coming years.

Next year will see the USA host the Copa America before the new, expanded 32-team, FIFA Club World Cup is held in the country a year ahead of the World Cup itself, co-hosted with Canada and Mexico.

"For the next few years, North America will be the epicenter for the beautiful game," he said.

But with the Leagues Cup, CONCACAF Champions Cup, the US Open Cup as well as the regular season and the playoffs, fitting all the games in while protecting players from burn-out remains a challenge.

Garber said MLS would not stop play during Copa America saying they could not afford to halt their season but would have to be "creative" with their schedule.

MLS usually plays through the regional CONCACAF Gold Cup but Garber said there was no question of the league continuing during the World Cup.


US, Mexico Submit Bid to Co-host 2027 Women's World Cup

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Final - Spain v England - Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia - August 20, 2023 General view of World Cup trophy on display before the match REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Final - Spain v England - Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia - August 20, 2023 General view of World Cup trophy on display before the match REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo
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US, Mexico Submit Bid to Co-host 2027 Women's World Cup

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Final - Spain v England - Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia - August 20, 2023 General view of World Cup trophy on display before the match REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Final - Spain v England - Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia - August 20, 2023 General view of World Cup trophy on display before the match REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo

The United States and Mexico submitted a joint bid on Friday to co-host the 2027 women's World Cup that, if successful, would see the North American neighbors stage global soccer's two showcase events in back-to-back years.
Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands earlier on Friday put in a joint bid to be the 2027 hosts, while Brazil put forward their bid to world soccer governing body FIFA last month.
According to Reuters, US Soccer said in a statement that bringing the women's World Cup to North America would capitalize on a moment of extraordinary growth in women’s sports to deliver a tournament of unprecedented success.
The United States and Mexico, along with Canada, are set to co-host the 2026 men's World Cup but rather than viewing that as negative US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone described it as a huge plus.
"This is a pivotal time for women’s soccer," said Parlow Cone. "The US and Mexico are in a unique position to host a World Cup that will leverage the same venues, infrastructure, and protocols used for the Men’s World Cup just a year prior.
"This will not only unlock the economic potential of women’s soccer, it will send a message to young players around the world that there is no limit to what they can achieve."
Member associations had until Friday to submit their bids to FIFA. South Africa had also submitted a bid but withdrew last month, saying they felt it was better to present a "well-prepared bid" for the 2031 edition.
"Extensive and detailed consultations between the three federations along with key stakeholders including central governments dates back to 2021," the Dutch football federation (KNVB) said in a statement accompanying the European nations' bid.
"This has led to alignment around the belief that our three countries are well placed to stage a FIFA Women's World Cup 2027 of unparalleled quality and impact."
FIFA will organize on-site inspection visits to bidding countries in February before the hosts are appointed in May by the FIFA Congress.

The 2023 tournament was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand this year, with Spain beating England in the final.


Gala Ceremony for Best FIFA Football Awards to be Held in London in January

FILED - 29 March 2023, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro: Visitors watch the FIFA Women's World Cup trophy during a tour to promote the women's tournament. Photo: Joao Gabriel Alves/dpa
FILED - 29 March 2023, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro: Visitors watch the FIFA Women's World Cup trophy during a tour to promote the women's tournament. Photo: Joao Gabriel Alves/dpa
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Gala Ceremony for Best FIFA Football Awards to be Held in London in January

FILED - 29 March 2023, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro: Visitors watch the FIFA Women's World Cup trophy during a tour to promote the women's tournament. Photo: Joao Gabriel Alves/dpa
FILED - 29 March 2023, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro: Visitors watch the FIFA Women's World Cup trophy during a tour to promote the women's tournament. Photo: Joao Gabriel Alves/dpa

The Best FIFA Football Awards will be staged in London in January, world soccer's governing body said Friday.
The gala event, which will see the likes of Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland, Pep Guardiola, Aitana Bonmati and Emma Hayes in contention for big prizes, will be held on Jan. 15.
It is the eighth edition of the awards, which celebrates the “planet’s top players, coaches, fans, goals, and acts of fair play.” It is the third time it has been hosted in London, following previous ceremonies in 2016 and 2017.
FIFA did not say which venue had been chosen for the ceremony.
Eight awards are voted for by coaches, captains, journalists and fans. They include the best men's and women's player, coach and goalkeeper.
Among other awards is the Puskas Award for the best goal of the year.
Messi was named the best men's player in 2022 and Alexia Putellas won the women's award.
Argentina's World Cup winning coach Lionel Scaloni and England's European Championship winning coach Sarina Wiegman won the awards for their respective coaching categories.
Women's World Cup stars Bonmati, Linda Caicedo and Lauren James are among the nominees for the women's player award this year.
Messi, Haaland and Kylian Mbappe are among the names up for the men's award.
Guardiola is up for the best men's coach award after winning the treble last year with Manchester City. New US women's coach Emma Hayes is among a strong field in the women's category, with Wiegman and Barcelona's Champions League-winning coach Jonatan Giraldez among the nominees.


Saudi Sports Minister: 2034 World Cup Could be Hosted in Summer or Winter

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal is seen at an event with Saudi athletes. Asharq Al-Awsat
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal is seen at an event with Saudi athletes. Asharq Al-Awsat
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Saudi Sports Minister: 2034 World Cup Could be Hosted in Summer or Winter

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal is seen at an event with Saudi athletes. Asharq Al-Awsat
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal is seen at an event with Saudi athletes. Asharq Al-Awsat

Saudi Arabia is looking into the possibility of hosting the 2034 men's World Cup during the traditional months of June-July, according to the Kingdom's Sports Minister.

In an interview, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal told British broadcaster BBC that either a summer or winter tournament was possible.

“Definitely we are studying both options to see what is the best option to host the World Cup,” the Minister said in an interview in Jeddah published Friday.

“Why not see what the possibilities are to do it in the summer?” Prince Abdulaziz said.

The Qatar World Cup was the first to be played in November-December.

The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) announced last month that Saudi Arabia is the only country that has filed a bid to host the 2034 World Cup.

While Saudi Arabia getting the 2034 tournament is now seen as a formality across global soccer, the final decision must be rubber-stamped at a meeting of the 211 FIFA member federations late next year.

Saudi Arabia was already building some stadiums to host the 2027 Asian Cup and FIFA has asked for 14 stadiums to host the World Cup.