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Leaders from the Football Industry Gather in Saudi Arabia to Shape the Future of the Sport

The second edition of World Football Summit Asia ( kicked off in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with a stellar gathering of leaders of the football industry who seek to draw a better future for the world’s most popular sport; more than 1,200 attendees from over 70 countries in the country’s first event of its kind, including representatives from Saudi Arabian sport, governing bodies and institutions, top-tier international football clubs, and executives from leading multinationals, seek to create the foundations for a more professional football industry; some notable speakers of the day included Adwa Al Arifi, Assistant Minister of Sports Affairs for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Peace Nobel Laureate, and Datuk Seri Windsor Paul John, General Secretary at the Asian Football Confederation.

World Football Summit Asia (WFS Asia), the first-ever football industry event in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, kicked off in Jeddah, establishing the city as the temporary capital of the football world, and enabling the key decision-makers from clubs, leagues, federations, and brands associated with the sport to shape future of the beautiful game. Hosting WFS Asia aligns with Saudi Arabia’s strategic vision to enhance its presence on the global sports stage and showcases its current influence in global football.

Adwa Al Arifi, the distinguished Assistant Minister of Sports Affairs for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with Datuk Seri Windsor Paul John, General Secretary at the Asian Football Confederation, set the tone of the opening ceremony with the clear objective of fostering international cooperation and growth within the sport.

“Football is played on our streets and lives in our hearts. It unites us, said Adwa to which Datuk added, “we’re here to engage in constructive dialogues on the future of the beautiful game.”

The event has gathered over 1,200 representatives and stakeholders from the global football ecosystem, with 70% of attendees joining from more than 70 countries.

Notable speakers who have participated in the first day of the event include Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Peace Nobel Laureate and co-founder of Yunus Sports Hub, Lamia Bahaian, Vice President of SAFF, Hammad Albalawi, Saudi Arabia 2034 FIFA World Cup bid team member, and Layan Jouhari, Professional Football Player of the Saudi Arabian National Team.

It was precisely one of the panels discussing the ambitions behind the 2034 World Cup bid that drew the most interest from those in attendance, in which Lamia explained the vision for hosting the tournament:

“In Saudi Arabia, we’re excited to connect with the football community and industry.”

Moreover, executives from brands like Aramco, Riyadh Air, Snapchat, Sela, Radisson Hotel Group, IMG, Ernst&Young, institutions like FIFA, The Saudi Arabian Football Federation, Roshn Saudi League, Serie A, LALIGA, Bundesliga or FIFPRO, and clubs like Al Nassr, Chelsea FC, Juventus, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, or Atlético de Madrid are in attendance, participating in panels that provide a 360º view of the industry across topics such as the secrets to successful fan engagement and fan involvement mechanisms, overviews of the multi-club ownership model, the establishment of women’s football as a major sport, the adoption of sustainability as a priority for sports properties, or the markets with the highest potential in football, as explained by legend Eric Abidal, after a report published by LTT Sports and World Football Summit, which available on the WFS website (

“Football is the same sport around the world, what changes is the philosophy and the management of it.”

The summit, however, focuses on the social aspect of the beautiful game, and not just the business around it. One of the themes of the event is the undeniable fact that sport, and football in particular, has the power to change the world, as evidenced by the words from Nobel Laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus, who received a WFS Honor during the welcome reception dinner organized by WFS on the night of December 11th at Hotel Radisson Blu, Jeddah Al Salam.

“Sports have used commercial and entertainment power, but we still need to utilize social one.”

Above all, it was evident that there is a profound willingness from the main stakeholders of the industry to dialogue, connect, and create a better football together.

“From the beginning, we were confident that we would be able to create a space where the international football community would have the opportunity to witness first-hand the full scope of Saudi Arabian’s vision for football, the importance of Asia for the industry, and the mandatory steps for creating the football we want, and need,” said Jan Alessie, Co-Founder and Director of World Football Summit. “Our entire team is proud to see it happen, and we are sure this annual event is going become mandatory for football professionals worldwide.”

Those interested in seeing more details about what’s in store for day 2 can check out the program ( or the full list of speakers ( on the World Football Summit website (

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Football Summit.

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Jaime Domínguez

About World Football Summit:
World Football Summit is the premier platform connecting the football industry worldwide. Through conferences, events, and digital platforms, WFS provides opportunities for stakeholders to network, discuss trends, and collaborate to shape the future of football.

Since its inception in 2016, WFS has successfully attracted over 24,000 attendees across 18 events and has built a global community of 100,000+ sports industry executives throughout its platforms. Top names in the industry, including Gianni Infantino, Fatma Samoura, Ronaldo Nazario, Samuel Eto’o, Peter Moore, and Cindy Parlow-Cone have participated, showcasing the event’s significance in the global football landscape.


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