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Football finance: How are clubs in saudi arabia regulated?

Soccer Ball In Saudi Arabia Flag Colours
Friday, 23 December 2022 By Barry Lysaght

Saudi Arabia’s victory over eventual champions Argentina at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 shocked the world – but that historic win may be just the beginning. With unprecedented levels of public investment powering a remarkable transformation in Saudi football both on and off the field[1], and the advancement of sport featuring as a key program in Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’ national development plan, the financial performance of the Kingdom’s football clubs has come under fresh scrutiny from the national football governing authorities[2].

This article traces how Saudi clubs are regulated in terms of their financial activities, with particular reference to the thorny and widespread issue of overdue payables for employees as well as other clubs, along with the disputes arising from such overdue payments. It considers the historical context of Saudi clubs’ record in this regard, the structural challenges that exist and the regulatory remedies – both those currently available and in the pipeline – aimed at enhancing financial accountability, sustainability and the meeting of contractual obligations.

The article discusses:

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Barry Lysaght

Barry Lysaght

Barry Lysaght is a solicitor and sports law consultant with over ten years of professional experience at national and international sports governing bodies. He most recently served as Director of Legal and Governance Affairs at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), prior to which he was Group Lead and Legal Counsel at FIFA and Senior Legal Counsel at the FIA. A solicitor admitted to the Roll of Solicitors of Ireland and the Senior Courts of England and Wales, Barry is a member of the Independent Board of Appeal of Classification for the International Paralympic Committee and previously served as Managing Editor of the Asser International Sports Law Journal.

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