Saudi Arabia will host the 2024 West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) Women’s Championship this month – the first official 11-a-side women’s tournament to be held in the Kingdom.
A milestone for women’s football in Saudi Arabia, the WAFF Women’s Championship 2024 will be held in the coastal city of Jeddah from 19-29 February, with the upcoming eighth edition welcoming eight teams.
The host nation will be joined by Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and two guests – Guam and Nepal. The tournament will begin with two groups of four in the group stage, followed by the semi-finals and final, which will be played at the King Abdullah Sports City and Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Sports City stadiums.
The WAF Women’s Championship is the latest international football tournament to be staged in Jeddah, which recently hosted the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup. Jeddah also hosted the 2022 WAFF Futsal Championship, where the national team rose to the occasion in front of their home fans, finishing the tournament in second place with a silver medal.
The upcoming tournament will also mark Saudi Arabia’s first appearance at the WAFF Women’s Championship and their first under new head coach Lluis Cortes. Since his appointment in December, the former Barcelona treble-winning coach has ushered in a new era for the team with an impressive 2-0 win over Syria.
Lamia Bahaian, Vice President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the WAFF Women’s Championship. We’re looking forward to what promises to be a brilliant tournament, and we’re particularly excited about the impact this will have in terms of inspiring women and young girls across the Kingdom while supporting the development of women’s football nationally and regionally.
“The individual and collective success of our domestic leagues, together with our success in hosting two editions of the SAFF Women’s Friendly Tournament and the 2022 WAFF Futsal Championship, shows that the foundations are in place for us to take the next big step in our journey. That is to host an official 11-a-side competition. We’re looking forward to welcoming members of the wider football ecosystem together for an incredible event – one that is sure to showcase the full power of football as a force for good and a platform for turning dreams into reality,” added Bahaian.
Commenting on the announcement, WAFF Secretary General Khalil Al Salem thanked SAFF for its continued commitment and support to women’s football in the West Asia region and underlined the two parties’ shared vision to promote women’s football and drive growth across the entire ecosystem.
Al Salem added: “At WAFF, our mission has always been to promote the development of the game through a variety of means – including organising championships across territories, paving the way for countries to compete and fans to be inspired. This announcement is the latest evidence that we are on the right track. With the WAFF Women’s Championship coming to Saudi Arabia, teams will be competing in an official competition in a new environment – with more opportunities to test themselves at an international level in front of an audience whose number one passion is football.”