Saudi Professional League

Saudi Pro League
Founded1976; 47 years ago (1976)
CountrySaudi Arabia
ConfederationAFC
Number of teams16 (18 in 2023–24)
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toFDL
Domestic cup(s)King Cup
Super Cup
International cup(s)AFC Champions League
UAFA Club Cup
GCC Champions League
Current championsAl-Hilal (18th title)
(2021–22)
Most championshipsAl-Hilal (18 titles)
Most appearancesMohamed Al-Deayea (406)
Top goalscorerMajed Abdullah (189 goals)
TV partnersShahid (MENA)
Websitespl.com.sa
Current: 2022–23 Saudi Professional League

The Saudi Pro League (SPL for short)[1] (Arabic: دوري المحترفين السعودي, Dawriyy al-Muḥtarifayni as-Suʿūdī), known as the Roshn Saudi League (RSL for short) for sponsorship reasons,[2][3] is the top division of association football in the Saudi Arabian league system. It has been operating as a round-robin tournament from it inaugural season until the 1989–90 season, after that the Saudi Federation decided to merge the football League with the King's Cup in one tournament and the addition of the Golden Box. The Golden Box would be an end of season knockout competition played between the top four teams of the regular league season. These teams would play at a semi-final stage to crown the champions of Saudi Arabia. The league reverted to a round-robin system in the 2007–08 season.

The Saudi Pro league is regarded as one of the best football leagues in Asia, hosting several of Asia's biggest and most wildly supported cubs such as Al-Hilal, Al-Ittihad, Al-Nassr and Al-Ahli. The association is also regularly ranked with the highest coefficient in Asia due to having successful and consistent performances in the AFC Champions League by its clubs.

The first season of competition was the 1976–77 season.[4] Al Hilal is the most successful team, holding 18 titles in its history and most recently winning the title in 2021–22.

History

Up until the late 1950s, football in Saudi Arabia was organized on a regional basis, with the only nationwide tournament being the King's Cup. In 1957, the first qualification process consolidated the regional tournaments of the Central, West, East and North regions. Clubs competed in their regional leagues to qualify for the King's Cup, which was the final stage of the competition. The winner of the King's Cup was not the league winner.[citation needed]

1976 saw the start of the first ever professional football league in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with eight teams, the following season the number of clubs increased to ten. The 1981–82 season saw the merger of both the Saudi Premier League and the Saudi First Division for that season exclusively to the concern of the 1982 FIFA World Cup qualification process. Twenty teams were divided into two groups, A and B. The top two in each group would enter a semi-final stage to determine the overall champions. In the following season which reverted back to regular round robin competition, the number of first-division clubs was later increased to 12 in the 1984–85 season.

In December 1990, the Saudi federation decided to merge the league with the king cup in one tournament, it was decided to revamp local competitions and to introduce professional football. A new league championship was formed called "The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques League Cup", which was a two-stage championship. The first stage was a regular double round-robin league competition with the top 4 qualifying to the final knockout stage, called the golden box. Clubs were allowed to sign players on a professional basis making the league semi professional. This system lasted for seventeen seasons before reverting to a regular round robin competition. The league became fully professional in 2007.[5]

As of 2008, depending on the nation's coefficient, four teams from Saudi Arabia qualify for the AFC Champions League annually. This includes the top three positions of the league, together with the winner of the King Cup. If the winner of the King Cup is also among the top three teams then the fourth-best team qualifies to the play-offs, and if the winner of the King Cup is not in the top three league positions in the league, the top two will qualify directly to the group stages while the third team will qualify for the AFC Champions League play-offs.

Competition format

Competition

There are 16 clubs in the Saudi Professional League. During the course of a season (usually from August to May) each club plays the other clubs twice (a double round-robin system), once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for 30 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by position on the league table depending on points, then the head-to-head record between the tied teams is taken into consideration, and then goal difference.

Promotion and relegation

A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Saudi Professional League and the Saudi First Division League. The three lowest placed teams in the Saudi Professional League are relegated to the First Division, and the top three teams from the First Division are promoted to the Saudi Professional League.

List of teams (2021–22 season)

For details on the 2021–22 Saudi Professional League season, see here.

Note: Table lists in alphabetical order.
Team Location Stadium Capacity
Abha Abha Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Stadium 20,000[6]
Al-Ahli Jeddah King Abdullah Sports City 62,345
Al-Batin Hafar al-Batin Al-Batin Club Stadium 6,000[7]
Al-Ettifaq Dammam Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium 35,000[8]
Al-Faisaly Harmah Al Majma'ah Sports City [1] 7,000
Al-Fateh Al-Hasa Prince Abdullah bin Jalawi Stadium 26,000[9][10]
Al-Fayha Al Majma'ah Al Majma'ah Sports City 7,000
Al-Hazem Ar Rass Al-Hazem Club Stadium 8,000[11]
Al-Hilal Riyadh King Fahd International Stadium [2] 62,685
Al-Ittihad Jeddah King Abdullah Sports City 62,345
Al-Nassr Riyadh Mrsool Park 25,000
Al-Raed Buraidah King Abdullah Sport City Stadium 25,000
Al-Shabab Riyadh Prince Khalid bin Sultan Stadium [3] 15,000
Al-Taawoun Buraidah King Abdullah Sport City Stadium 25,000
Al-Tai Ḥaʼil Prince Abdul Aziz bin Musa'ed Stadium 12,000[12]
Damac Khamis Mushait Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Stadium [4] 20,000

1: ^ Al-Faisaly play their home games in Al Majma'ah.

2: ^ Al-Hilal also use Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium (22,500 seats) as a home stadium.

3: ^ Al-Shabab FC also use Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium (22,500 seats) as a home stadium.

List of champions

No Season Champion
1 1968–69 Al-Ahli
2 1974–75 Al-Nassr
- 1975–76 Not continued
3 1976–77 Al-Hilal
4 1977–78 Al-Ahli
5 1978–79 Al-Hilal
6 1979–80 Al-Nassr
7 1980–81 Al-Nassr
8 1981–82 Al-Ittihad
9 1982–83 Al-Ettifaq
10 1983–84 Al-Ahli
11 1984–85 Al-Hilal
12 1985–86 Al-Hilal
13 1986–87 Al-Ettifaq
14 1987–88 Al-Hilal
15 1988–89 Al-Nassr
16 1989–90 Al-Hilal
No. Season Champion
17 1990–91 Al-Shabab
18 1991–92 Al-Shabab
19 1992–93 Al-Shabab
20 1993–94 Al-Nassr
21 1994–95 Al-Nassr
22 1995–96 Al-Hilal
23 1996–97 Al-Ittihad
24 1997–98 Al-Hilal
25 1998–99 Al-Ittihad
26 1999–00 Al-Ittihad
27 2000–01 Al-Ittihad
28 2001–02 Al-Hilal
29 2002–03 Al-Ittihad
30 2003–04 Al-Shabab
31 2004–05 Al-Hilal
32 2005–06 Al-Shabab
No. Season Champion
33 2006–07 Al-Ittihad
34 2007–08 Al-Hilal
35 2008–09 Al-Ittihad
36 2009–10 Al-Hilal
37 2010–11 Al-Hilal
38 2011–12 Al-Shabab
39 2012–13 Al-Fateh
40 2013–14 Al-Nassr
41 2014–15 Al-Nassr
42 2015–16 Al-Ahli
43 2016–17 Al-Hilal
44 2017–18 Al-Hilal
45 2018–19 Al-Nassr
46 2019–20 Al-Hilal
47 2020–21 Al-Hilal
48 2021–22 Al-Hilal
49 2022–23

Champions

Performance by club

# Club Winners Runners-up
1 Al-Hilal
18
15
2 Al-Nassr
9
6
3 Al Ittihad
8
8
4 Al-Shabab
6
6
5 Al-Ahli
4
9
6 Al-Ettifaq
2
3
7 Al-Fateh
1
0
8 Al-Riyadh
0
1

Total titles won by city

City Number of titles Clubs
Riyadh
33
Al-Hilal (18), Al-Nassr (9), Al-Shabab (6)
Jeddah
12
Al-Ittihad (8), Al-Ahli (4)
Dammam
2
Al-Ettifaq (2)
Al-Hasa
1
Al-Fateh (1)

Title-winning managers

Rank Manager Nat. Titles Club(s) Seasons
1 Dimitri Davidovic Belgium 3 Al-Ittihad 1996–97, 1998–99, 2006–07
2 Ramón Díaz Argentina 2 Al-Hilal 2016–17, 2021–22
Gabriel Calderon Argentina Al-Ittihad, Al-Hilal 2008–09, 2010–11
Khalil Al-Zayani Saudi Arabia Al-Ettifaq 1982–83, 1986–87
Chico Formiga Brazil Al-Nassr 1979–80, 1980–81
5 José Morais Portugal 1 Al-Hilal 2020–21
Răzvan Lucescu Romania Al-Hilal 2019–20
Rui Vitória Portugal Al-Nassr 2018–19
Juan Brown Argentina Al-Hilal 2017–18
Christian Gross Switzerland Al-Ahli 2015–16
Jorge da Silva Uruguay Al-Nassr 2014–15
José Daniel Carreño Uruguay Al-Nassr 2013–14
Fathi Al-Jabal Tunisia Al-Fateh 2012–13
Michel Preud'homme Belgium Al-Shabab 2011–12
Eric Gerets Belgium Al-Hilal 2009–10
Cosmin Olăroiu Romania Al-Hilal 2007–08
Abduladtif Al-Hoossieni Saudi Arabia Al-Shabab 2005–06
Marcos Paquetá Brazil Al-Hilal 2004–05
Zé Mário Brazil Al-Shabab 2003–04
Khalid Al-Koroni Saudi Arabia Al-Ittihad 2002–03
Francisco Maturana Colombia Al-Hilal 2001–02
Ardiles Argentina Al-Ittihad 2000–01
Oscar Brazil Al-Ittihad 1999–00
Ilie Balaci Romania Al-Hilal 1997–98
Joubert Brazil Al-Hilal 1995–96
Yousef Khamees Saudi Arabia Al-Nassr 1994–95
Jean Fernandez France Al-Nassr 1993–94
Geninho Brazil Al-Shabab 1992–93
Lori Sandri Brazil Al-Shabab 1991–92
Paulo Campos Brazil Al-Shabab 1990–91
João Carlos Brazil Al-Hilal 1989–90
Joel Santana Brazil Al-Nassr 1988–89
Omar Borras Uruguay Al-Hilal 1987–88
Noagira Brazil Al-Hilal 1985–86
Candinho Brazil Al-Hilal 1984–85
Telê Santana Brazil Al-Ahli 1983–84
Chinesinho Brazil Al-Ittihad 1981–82
Mário Zagallo Brazil Al-Hilal 1978–79
Didi Brazil Al-Ahli 1977–78
George Smith England Al-Hilal 1976–77
Mahmoud Abou-Regaila Egypt Al-Nassr 1974–75

Top scorers

All-time top scorers

As of matches played 19 January 2023[13][14]

Boldface indicates a player still active in the Pro League.

Rank Player Club(s) Years Goals Apps Ratio
1 Saudi Arabia Majed Abdullah Al-Nassr 1977–1997 189 194 0.97
2 Saudi Arabia Nasser Al-Shamrani Al-Wehda, Al-Shabab, Al-Hilal, Al-Ittihad 2003–2019 167 301 0.55
3 Syria Omar Al Somah Al-Ahli 2014–2022 144 180 0.94
4 Saudi Arabia Fahd Al-Hamdan Al-Riyadh 1984–2000 120 252 0.48
5 Saudi Arabia Yasser Al-Qahtani Al-Qadsiah, Al-Hilal 2000–2018 112 206 0.56
6 Saudi Arabia Mohammad Al-Sahlawi Al-Qadsiah, Al-Nassr, Al-Shabab, Al-Taawoun 2005– 106 244 0.45
7 Saudi Arabia Sami Al-Jaber Al-Hilal 1988–2007 101 268 0.38
8 Morocco Abderrazak Hamdallah Al-Nassr, Al-Ittihad 2018- 98 99 0.99
8 Saudi Arabia Hamzah Idris Ohod, Al-Ittihad 1992–2007 96 N/A
10 Saudi Arabia Obeid Al-Dosari Al-Wehda, Al-Ahli 1996–2005 91 N/A

Top scorers by season

Season Nat. Top scorer(s) Club(s) Goals
1975–76 Saudi Arabia Mohammad S. Abdeli Al-Nassr 13
1976–77 Saudi Arabia Nasser Eid Al-Qadsiah 7
1977–78 Saudi Arabia Motamad Khojali Al-Ahli 14
1978–79 Saudi Arabia Majed Abdullah Al-Nassr 18
1979–80 Saudi Arabia Majed Abdullah Al-Nassr 17
1980–81 Saudi Arabia Majed Abdullah Al-Nassr 21
1981–82 Saudi Arabia Khalid Al-Ma'ajil Al-Shabab 22
1982–83 Saudi Arabia Majed Abdullah Al-Nassr 14
1983–84 Saudi Arabia Hussam Abu Dawood Al-Ahli 14
1984–85 Saudi Arabia Hathal Dosari Al-Hilal 15
1985–86 Saudi Arabia Majed Abdullah Al-Nassr 15
1986–87 Saudi Arabia Mohammad Suwaidi Al-Ittihad 17
1987–88 Saudi Arabia Khalid Al-Ma'ajil Al-Shabab 12
1988–89 Saudi Arabia Majed Abdullah Al-Nassr 19
1989–90 Saudi Arabia Sami Al-Jaber Al-Hilal 16
1990–91 Saudi Arabia Fahad Al-Mehallel Al-Shabab 20
1991–92 Saudi Arabia Saeed Al-Owairan Al-Shabab 16
1992–93 Saudi Arabia Sami Al-Jaber Al-Hilal 18
1993–94 Senegal Moussa Ndao Al-Hilal 15
1994–95 Saudi Arabia Fahd Al-Hamdan Al-Riyadh 15
1995–96 Ghana Ohene Kennedy Al-Nassr 14
1996–97 Morocco Ahmed Bahja Al-Ittihad 21
1997–98 Saudi Arabia Sulaiman Al-Hadaithy Al-Najma 15
1998–99 Saudi Arabia Obeid Al-Dosari Al-Wehda 20
1999–00 Saudi Arabia Hamzah Idris Al-Ittihad 33
2000–01 Angola Paulo da Silva Al-Ettifaq 13
2001–02 Senegal Diene Faye Al-Riyadh 10
2002–03 Ecuador Carlos Tenorio Al-Nassr 15
2003–04 Ghana
Ivory Coast
Godwin Attram
Kandia Traoré
Al-Shabab
Al-Hilal
15
2004–05 Senegal Mohammed Manga Al-Shabab 15
2005–06 Saudi Arabia Essa Al-Mehyani Al-Wehda 16
2006–07 Ghana Godwin Attram Al-Shabab 13
2007–08 Saudi Arabia Nasser Al-Shamrani Al-Shabab 18
2008–09 Saudi Arabia
Morocco
Nasser Al-Shamrani
Hicham Aboucherouane
Al-Shabab
Al-Ittihad
12
2009–10 Saudi Arabia Mohammad Al-Shalhoub Al-Hilal 12
2010–11 Saudi Arabia Nasser Al-Shamrani Al-Shabab 17
2011–12 Saudi Arabia
Brazil
Nasser Al-Shamrani
Victor Simões
Al-Shabab
Al-Ahli
21
2012–13 Argentina Sebastián Tagliabué Al-Shabab 19
2013–14 Saudi Arabia Nasser Al-Shamrani Al-Hilal 21
2014–15 Syria Omar Al Somah Al-Ahli 22
2015–16 Syria Omar Al Somah Al-Ahli 27
2016–17 Syria Omar Al Somah Al-Ahli 24
2017–18 Chile Ronnie Fernández Al-Fayha 13
2018–19 Morocco Abderrazak Hamdallah Al-Nassr 34
2019–20 Morocco Abderrazak Hamdallah Al-Nassr 29
2020–21 France Bafétimbi Gomis Al-Hilal 24
2021–22 Nigeria Odion Ighalo Al-Hilal 24
2022-23 Brazil Talisca Al-Nassr 11

Broadcasters

Country Broadcaster Ref
 Middle East and North Africa Shahid
 Austria Sportdigital [15]
 Germany
 Switzerland
Balkans Sport Klub
 Brunei Astro SuperSport
 Malaysia
 France RMC Sport [16]
 Greece Cosmote Sport
 Indonesia iNews [17]
MNC Sports
 Italy Sportitalia
 Portugal Sport TV [18]
Sub-saharan Africa StarTimes Sports [19]
 Türkiye S Sport [20]

See also

References

  1. ^ The logo also used "MBS" as an abbreviation for the MBS Pro League (Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Professional League) until the 2021-22 season.
  2. ^ "Saudi Pro League renamed to Roshn Saudi League". SPL. 23 August 2022.
  3. ^ Official SAFF site in English
  4. ^ "Live Scores – Clubs: Al Hilalclub_hint=Al Nassr". FIFA. Archived from the original on 1 August 2009.
  5. ^ "Morocco's Abderrazak Hamdallah breaks scoring record in Saudi Arabia". 19 April 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  6. ^ "Prince Sultan Sport City Stadium (Mahalah)".
  7. ^ "Al batin Club Stadiuem".
  8. ^ "Prince Mohammed Bin Fahad Stadium".
  9. ^ "ملعب الأحساء ينهي استعداداته لاستقبال العائلات".
  10. ^ "Prince Abdullah bin Jalawi Sports City Stadium".
  11. ^ "Alhazm Club Stadium".
  12. ^ "استاد الأمير عبدالعزيز بن مساعد بن جلوي". kooora.com. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  13. ^ "احصائيات هدافي الدوري تاريخيا والاكثر حصولا على لقب الهداف".
  14. ^ "ماجد عبد الله، السهلاوي والقحطاني وأبرز الهدافيين التاريخيين في الدوري السعودي".
  15. ^ "Al-Nassr vs. Ettifaq: Das Debüt von Cristiano Ronaldo heute im TV und LIVE STREAM - gibt es eine Übertragung? | Goal.com". www.goal.com. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  16. ^ "Arabie saoudite: à quelle heure et sur quelle chaîne regarder le premier match de Ronaldo avec Al-Nassr". RMC SPORT (in French). Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  17. ^ "officialinews on Instagram: "SAUDI PRO LEAGUE 2023 RONALDO ON THE COURT! Represent Al-Nassr! Saksikan debut Ronaldo di awal tahun dalam liga sepakbola bergengsi "SAUDI PRO LEAGUE" Al-Nassr VS Al-Ettifaq 23 Januari 00.20 WIB (dini hari) LIVE di iNews #inews #saudiproleague2023 #inewssaudiproleague2023 #christianoronaldo #ronaldo #inewssport #alnassrvsalettifac #alnassr #alettifac #ronaldoinalnassr #soccer #sepakbola #arabsaudi #champion #world"". Instagram. Retrieved 21 January 2023.
  18. ^ "Saudi Pro League lands rights deals in Portugal and Italy". SportBusiness. 20 January 2023. Retrieved 21 January 2023.
  19. ^ "MATCHDAY LIVE ⚽️ Saudi Pro League Al-Nassr 🆚 Al-Ettifaq 📆 Sun, 22nd Jan ⏱ 8:30PM >> Stream live on StarTimes ON App". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  20. ^ "Cristian Ronaldo ve Suudi Arabistan Ligi S Sport Plus'ta". ajansspor.com (in Turkish). Retrieved 21 January 2023.

External links

  • MBS League SAFF
  • Saudi Pro League Statistics
  • Saudi Professional League Commission (in Arabic)
  • Abdul Latif Jameel League (in Arabic)
  • Saudi Arabia Football Federation at FIFA.com
  • Saudi Arabia – List of Champions at RSSSF.com
  • Saudi Pro League summary(SOCCERWAY)
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