Is Al-Ittihad’s signing of Leicester Metropolis defender Ashleigh Plumptre an indication of issues to return for Saudi ladies’s soccer?
It is all about soccer on this week’s Sports activities Wrap. Regardless of the switch window purchasing spree, prime Saudi golf equipment nonetheless battle to attract the crowds that their new signings had turn into accustomed to in Europe. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped the Saudi Girls’s Premier League welcoming a current switch from England’s Girls’s Tremendous League. And eventually, with the Worldwide Federation of Soccer Historical past and Statistics’s membership rankings out, Egypt’s Al-Ahly have in some way managed to trump a few of the largest names in membership soccer.
A brand new frontier for Saudi spending?
Saudi Arabia has made its first splurge in ladies’s soccer with the signing of Leicester Metropolis defender Ashleigh Plumptre.
The Nigerian worldwide will turn into one of many first large names to hitch the Saudi Girls’s Premier League after signing for Al-Ittihad of Jeddah.
She joins stars who’ve already signed for the Jeddah aspect such Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, and Fabinho.
Whereas the lads’s staff stands prime of the Saudi Professional League, Al-Ittihad ladies languish in fifth place within the Girls’s Premier League.
“Grateful to have signed for Al-Ittihad. Excited to begin this journey alongside some unimaginable human beings,” Plumptre tweeted.
“My journey of getting into extra of myself continues… It is greater than soccer.”
Al-Ittihad additionally tweeted a video welcoming the star to Jeddah with an interview of Plumptre carrying The Tigers’ famed yellow-and-black jersey.
— Al-Ittihad Girls | سيدات الاتحاد (@ittiladiesclub) September 12, 2023
Plumptre was an everyday starter for Leicester Metropolis, who completed tenth within the Girls’s Tremendous League final season, which is extensively thought of to be one of the vital aggressive on the planet.
Al-Ittihad is managed by former US worldwide Kelly Lindsey, who was head coach of Lewes FC between 2021 and 2023.
Saudi Arabia has been extensively condemned for violations of ladies’s rights with some teams calling the Saudi Girls’s Premier League and Saudi Professional League an try at sports activities washing. This contains the jailing of ladies’s rights activists.
Others have welcomed the social reforms enacted over the previous 5 years, together with opening up soccer stadiums to ladies and beginning the home ladies’s league in 2020.
Jordan Henderson performs in entrance of simply over 900 individuals in Saudi Professional League match
Former Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson performed in entrance of simply 976 individuals as his Al-Ettifaq aspect gained 2-1 away to Ahba Membership on Saturday.
Henderson not too long ago hit again towards claims that his transfer to the Saudi Professional League was motivated by cash. The 32-year-old England worldwide earns someplace within the area of a reported £350,000 – £700,000 per-week for the Saudi membership and now finds himself enjoying in crowd sizes decrease than what you’d discover within the semi-professional Nationwide League, the fifth tier of England’s league system.
Abha Membership play within the 25,000 capability Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Stadium in Saudi’s mountainous southwest, which means the stadium was solely 3.9% full.
Al-Ettifaq virtually fell behind Abha Membership however was thwarted by a golden alternative! ????⚽❎
— The Captain ???????? (@Footballers501) September 16, 2023
The attendance determine served as a actuality examine to many soccer followers on social media who’re tempted to check the Saudi Professional League to the English Premier League, with it being a far cry from the 55,000 followers Henderson was used to enjoying in entrance of at Anfield each different week.
Al-Ettifaq are managed by one other ex-Liverpool captain and membership legend Steven Gerrard and, although not one of many large 4 Saudi golf equipment backed by the Public Funding Fund (PIF), they’ve nonetheless managed to draw large names equivalent to Jordan Henderson’s Champions League and Premier League-winning teammate Georginio Wijnaldum, Moussa Dembele from Lyon, Demarai Gray from Everton and Scottish worldwide Jack Hendry from Membership Brugge.
Al-Ettifaq’s wins towards Ahba Membership and their 4-3 house win on Thursday towards Al-Ta’ee sees the Dammam membership sit in 4th place within the league.
Egypt’s Al-Ahly comes sixth, forward of Manchester United, in world membership rankings
Egypt’s Al Ahly have been ranked sixth international membership rankings – forward of European giants Manchester United and Bayern Munich, amongst others.
The rankings had been compiled by the Worldwide Federation of Soccer Historical past and Statistics (IFFHS), which releases yearly statistics on the efficiency of golf equipment world wide.
The Egyptian champions had been ranked sixth on the planet with 236.5 factors, whereas Man Utd in accrued 230 factors in seventh place over the interval of September 1 2022 to August 31 2023.
Solely Manchester Metropolis, Spanish giants Actual Madrid, Flamengo of Brazil, Inter Milan and Porto completed above the Egyptian membership.
Al Ahly have gained the African Champions League an astonishing 11 instances and are the present holders of the African Champions League. It’s no shock that they had been additionally ranked by the IFFHS as the highest staff in Africa and the Arabic-speaking world.
Wydad Casablanca from Morocco secured the second place within the African and Arab membership rankings and 51st globally with 152 factors. They had been adopted by Pyramids FC of Egypt in fourth place with 147 factors, after which Royal Military Membership of Morocco, who ranked fifth with 128 factors. In the meantime, Raja Casablanca of Morocco took the seventh place with 131.5 factors.
Supporters of Al-Ahly’s fierce rivals Zamalek might be seething that their staff solely completed eighth within the African and Arab rankings.
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