Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 17 November 2022: Ahead of Saudi Arabia and Croatia’s final friendly match in Riyadh before the start of their respective 2022 FIFA World Cup campaigns, both federations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore areas of collaboration across all levels of the game.
Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) president Yasser Almisehal and Croatian Football Federation (HNS) president Marijan Kustić put pen to paper in a signing ceremony held at SAFF’s headquarters in the capital city of Riyadh.
“Croatia is among the world’s elite football nations, and their national team captured the world’s attention four years ago by reaching the FIFA World Cup final. Their 2018 campaign will remain in the history books forever. We are pleased to have welcomed them in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the past few days ahead of their trip to Doha,” said Al Misehal.
He added: “We look forward to exploring areas of collaboration, in addition to sharing knowledge and experiences to support the development of football in both our countries. We wish their national team the very best of luck in Qatar.”
In a sign of appreciation for the massive progress across all areas of the women’s game in Saudi Arabia, the 2018 FIFA World Cup finalists presented SAFF Women’s Football Department with a signed shirt by its national team players. It featured signatures of Croatia’s football stars from Real Madrid’s Luka Modrić and Tottenham Hotspur’s Ivan Perisić to Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacić and Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozović.
Commenting on the new partnership, HNS president Marijan Kustić said: “We would like to thank our friends at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation for their kind hospitality in Riyadh and wish them the best of luck at the FIFA World Cup. We are extremely pleased to kick-start a new chapter of collaboration and partnership between our two nations.”
Kustić was particularly fond of the development of women’s football in the Kingdom. “I was particularly impressed by the fascinating journey of women’s football in just a few years. It is truly a great story and I congratulate the SAFF team on the important work they are doing across different areas of the women’s game,” he concluded.
Supervisor of the Women’s Football Department and SAFF board member Lamia Bahaian and department head Aalia Al Rasheed expressed their gratitude for the gift to the whole delegation at the Croatian Football Federation and offered their best wishes to the national team in Qatar.
Over the last three years, women’s football in Saudi Arabia experienced unprecedented investment in areas such as grassroots player development, competitions, coaching, refereeing and governance. As a result, SAFF expressed their interest to bid for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup, established the first women’s national team last year followed by the inaugural women’s football league and girls’ schools league.
Saudi Arabia’s men’s national team kick-off their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign against Argentina on 22 November, before taking on Poland four days later, followed by their final group stage match against Mexico on 30 November.