By Arab News
By Sultan Al-Sughair
The Vision 2030 aimed at transforming the economy has also set out measures to ensure Saudis lead healthy lifestyles, with a focus on sports, exercise and recreational activities.
Details of the plan were announced Monday by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier and defense minister, who said the aim is to have the number of people exercising regularly raised from 13 percent of the population to 40 percent over the next five years.
“A healthy and balanced lifestyle is an essential mainstay of a high quality of life. Yet opportunities for the regular practice of sports have often been limited. This will change. We intend to encourage widespread and regular participation in sports and athletic activities, working in partnership with the private sector to establish additional dedicated facilities and programs.”
“This will enable citizens and residents to engage in a wide variety of sports and leisure pursuits. We aspire to excel in sport and be among the leaders in selected sports regionally and globally,” Prince Mohammed said.
Commenting on the plan, General President of Youth Welfare Prince Abdullah bin Mosaed said it was consistent with the aims of the Saudi Olympic Committee to encourage competition in the Saudi sports sector through its Gold 2022 Program launched three months ago in the presence of more than 29 Saudi sports federations. The goal is to ensure the Kingdom is ranked among the top three countries in Asia.
According to Vision 2030, “Daem,” which is a national program to enhance the quality of cultural activities and entertainment, will be provided with financial support to open dedicated venues that would showcase Saudi talent.
The program will create a national network of clubs, encourage the exchange of knowledge and international experiences and promote hobbies and leisure activities.
It also promises to review regulations to simplify the establishment and registration of amateur, social and cultural clubs.
The goal: By 2020 there should be more than 450 registered professional and amateur clubs providing a variety of cultural activities and entertainment for citizens.
On measures to privatize Saudi football clubs, Hafez Al-Medlej, said that investors must not place their money in clubs they support as fans, but should look at football as a business.
Rashid Fawzan, a financial analyst, said the privatization plan should include the sports sector in general, including stadiums, facilities and federations, and even the Saudi Football Federation and the General Presidency of Youth Welfare.