The SFA was restructured in 2018 and mandated by the Ministry of Sport through the Quality of Life program to increase the ratio of individuals exercising at least once a week to 40% by 2030
As Saudi Arabia celebrates five years of growth, development and transformation under the ongoing Vision 2030 strategic plan, the Saudi Sports for All Federation has reaffirmed its commitment to helping achieve the goals of the Vision and make the country a global beacon of health and wellbeing.
Vision 2030 was launched in 2016 by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependency on oil, diversify its economy, and develop the social landscape of the Kingdom.
The ambitious plan seeks to achieve six overarching objectives: Enhance Government effectiveness, enable social responsibility, grow and diversify the economy, increase employment, strengthen national identity, and offer a fulfilling and healthy life. All of which aims to create an ambitious nation, thriving economy, and vibrant society.
A key program under the umbrella of Vision 2030 is the Quality of Life program, which endeavors to create the right environment to develop and support enhanced lifestyle options, and empower the sectors of culture, heritage, sports, entertainment and tourism.
Restructured in 2018, the SFA plays a key role in achieving this, having been mandated by the Ministry of Sport through the Quality of Life program to increase the ratio of individuals exercising at least once a week to 40% by 2030.
To do this, the Federation has introduced a range of initiatives, events and programs to ensure people of all ages, abilities, backgrounds and genders have the opportunity to build healthy habits and take part in regular physical activity, wherever they are across the Kingdom.
Aligning closely with the Ministry of Sports and Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee throughout the past five years, a raft of partners and stakeholders that includes the Ministry of Municipalities and Rural Affairs and Housing played significant roles in the SFA’s traction. Working alongside private sector partners including Nike, PepsiCo, Majid Al Futtaim, and more, the SFA has seen more than 350,000 people take part in its virtual and in-person initiatives in 2020 only. National and international nonprofits and nongovernmental entities also played valuable support roles, including the Saudi Food Bank, Zahra Association, the Association For International Sport for All (TAFISA), and the World Health Organization.
“The significant progress Vision 2030 has made in its first five years is testament to the determination, adaptability, and positivity of people across Saudi Arabia; qualities they have also brought to their pursuit of health and wellbeing. At Sports for All we are committed to ensuring that these outcomes are fully supported as people continue their fitness journeys. Working hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Sport through the support of Quality of Life program, we are proud to be part of the national transformation brought about by Vision 2030, and look forward to even more joint successes in the years ahead,” said SFA President, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud.
Landmark initiatives Step Together and Move to Game – both taking place during the past year – have been particularly noteworthy. More than 8,750 people joined the first four Step Together walk and run challenges, with the fifth taking place during Ramadan this year, and another seven planned for the rest of the year. Hundreds of thousands of kilometers have been covered in the process.
Move to Game – jointly launched with the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic Sports (SAFEIS) in April 2020 – merges gaming and physical activity, with weekly challenges from organizers and partners. More than 151,000 people have taken part, including more than 50 CSGs, and 14 federations, with people taking more than 10 billion steps so far as part of the program.
CSGs themselves have been another success story for the SFA. In 2015 there were only 50 CSGs across the country. Thanks to the efforts of the SFA, there were 451 CSGs by the end of 2020 – an increase of 800% in five years.
Also of note is the progress the SFA has made with women’s football. As well as establishing the Saudi Greens football team – which came second place at the Global Goals World Cup tournament in New York in 2019 – a community-level Women’s Football League was established. The inaugural season concluded in December last year, with Challenge Team outdoing 23 other team to take home the Champion’s Cup.
The WFL also focussed on training coaches and referees, with 12 of Asia’s best female referees not only officiating all WFL matches, but training 40 Saudi junior female referees in the first on-ground training of its kind in Saudi Arabia.
Other events hosted by the SFA include Family Activity Days, which attracted more than 130,000 participants; cycling tournaments in Alkhobar and Riyadh; the National Cricket Championship; and a three-day online Women’s Fitness Festival.
The SFA’s digital strategy has also been pivotal in its mission to drive participation in regular activity. The Baytak Nadeek (Your Home, Your Gym) campaign used online workouts and challenges to help people to stay fit and healthy during the period of homebound safety, while current campaign Start Now leverages technology to inspire and encourage people to reach their fitness goals.
The SFA App is central to Start Now, allowing users to create and manage CSGs, create events, invite participants, join challenges, track their progress, and more.
The app also features SFA Rewards, through which users can win prizes by taking part in various challenges and collecting points. Furthermore, the SFA’s Healthy Living portal contains a wealth of material focused on making wellness accessible to all.
Five years into Vision 2030, the SFA is proud of the impact it has made on the health and fitness of the nation so far. The Federation is committed to making even more impact and bringing more benefit to the nation in the years to come, helping make Saudi Arabia the gold standard of health and wellbeing around the world.