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Saudi Arabia Pro League: Dates, teams, history & betting odds

Saudi Arabia has caused a major stir on the domestic football scene by splashing the cash to attract the best and brightest the beautiful game has to offer to the Saudi Arabia Pro League.

Some of the biggest names in world football, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, have already taken up lucrative offers to play in the Middle East and more are likely to follow as the ambitious league eyes more top talent.

What2023/24 Saudi Arabia Pro League
WhereVarious stadiums across Saudi Arabia
WhenFriday, August 11th 2023 - Monday, May 27th, 2024
How to watchSky Sports 
OddsAl Ittihad 6/4, Al-Nassr 5/2, Al Hilal 6/1, Al Shabab 12/1, Al Ahli 14/1, Al Ittifaq 14/1

How does the Saudi Arabia Pro League work?

The league has been expanded for the upcoming season from 16 to 18 teams - 14 from last term's Saudi Arabian top flight with four more promoted from the second tier FD League. 

The four new teams joining the top flight this season are Al Ahli, Al Akhdoud, Al Riyadh and Al Hazem, replacing relegated duo Al Adalah and Al Batin.

Only two teams went down last season to accommodate the expansion, but that number has returned to three for the upcoming campaign. 

At the top end of the table, the winner is decided by the usual format of most points after 34 rounds of matches, with head-to-head results and then head-to-head goal difference used to separate teams if they are on the same number of points. 

The top two teams qualify for the AFC Champions League.

ProWhich big names are playing in the Saudi Arabia Pro League?

The competition has created plenty of headlines with its recent influx of foreign talent, with Ronaldo and Benzema the two headline arrivals so far.

The moves for two of football's biggest names has seemingly opened the floodgates on more players taking up big-money offers to play in Saudi Arabia.

The quality of imports has improved dramatically in the last year and in 2023 alone we've seen N'Golo Kante, Roberto Firmino, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Neves, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Edouard Mendy and Marcelo Brozovic make the move. 

More familiar faces are likely to move before the summer is out with Jordan Henderson, Riyad Mahrez and Allan Saint-Maximin expected to swap the English Premier League for the Saudi version.

The temptation of a big payday doesn't stop at the players, with Steven Gerrard recently becoming Al Ettifaq manager. There are currently no Saudi-born managers coaching top-flight clubs.

How many foreign players can play in the Saudi Arabia Pro League?

Under current regulations, Saudi Arabian clubs are only allowed to register eight foreign-born players over the course of a season. 

Some clubs have already filled their quota with Al Hilal, Al Ittihad, Al Khaleej and Al-Nassr having named eight in their squads.

When does the 2023/24 Saudi Arabia Pro League season begin?

The new season gets underway at 19:00 on Friday, 11th August when Al Ahli entertain Al Hazam. 

It finishes on Monday, 27th May with all 18 teams due to play on the final day.

When did the Saudi Arabia Pro League start?

Football in the country was largely regionalised and amateur until 1976 when the first professional, national league was established. 

The original competition only comprised eight teams with Al Hilal, Al Nasr, Al Ahli, Al Ittihad, Al Wahda, Al Qadisiya, Al Shabab and Al Riyadh contesting a league that was eventually won by Al Hilal.

How many times has the Saudi Arabia Pro League taken place?

The Saudi Arabia Pro League has run every season since 1976 and this season will mark the 47th edition of the competition. 

Which teams have won the Saudi Arabia Pro League the most?

Al Hilal are one of only three ever-presents in the Saudi top flight, along with Al Ittihad and Al-Nassr, but have enjoyed considerably more success, winning 18 League titles. 

That's twice as many as Al Ittihad in second, while Al Nassr are third on the list with eight championships.

Who won last year's Saudi Arabia Pro League?

Al Ittihad picked up their first title in 14 years last season, finishing five points clear of Al-Nassr in second.

Under the management of former Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers coach Nuno Espirito Santo, the Tigers completed a league and Saudi Super Cup double, beating Al-Fayha 2-0 in the final.

Al Hilal took home the King Cup, denying Al-Nassr's Ronaldo silverware in his first season in Saudi football.

Who are the favourites to win the 2023/24 Saudi Arabia Pro League?

Al Ittihad are the 6/4 favourites to retain their title after building upon the success of last season. 

They added former Balon d'Or winner Benzema to their ranks in May with his compatriot and World Cup winner N'Golo Kante following soon after. 

They've also added tricky winger Jota from Celtic and the trio join last season's top scorer Abderrazak Hamdallah in Nuno's ranks. 

Ronaldo's Al-Nassr are a 5/2 chance to claim a first title since the 2018/19 season and they've brought in Marcelo Brozovic from Inter Milan to strengthen their midfield. 

Of Saudi Arabia's big three teams, Al Hilal are the 6/1 outsiders but have probably improved the most through the transfer window with Ruben Neves, Kalidou Koulibaly and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic joining the capital club.

14/1 shots Al Ahli have done some eye-catching business with the additions of Edouard Mendy and Roberto Firmino, and are hopeful of landing Riyad Mahrez as they chase what would be only their third title.

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