NEOM, Saudi Arabia - Following a successful four-year global sponsorship, NEOM and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have agreed to an extended multi-year partnership, which will run from 2024 to 2029.

Under the terms of the arrangement, NEOM will continue to serve as the Official Global Partner of the AFC national team and club competitions, as well as be the Presenting Partner of the first pan-Asian AFC Women’s Champions LeagueTM. The agreement signifies NEOM and the AFC’s drive to promote inclusivity in sport and the positive steps both organizations are making to support and amplify women’s football across Asia.  

The partnership reinforces NEOM’s presence in a new era for Asian Football, marked by AFC’s revamped club tournaments. The newly introduced AFC Champions League EliteTM Finals will see NEOM as the Official Global Presenting Partner of the eight final matches being played in Riyadh in 2025. NEOM will also be the Presenting Partner of the inaugural AFC Women’s Champions LeagueTM, promoting the top 12 women’s clubs from across Asia.

Ultimately, the agreement further strengthens the foundations laid over the last four years as Saudi Arabia prepares to host prestigious football competitions such as the AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027TM.

The partnership between NEOM and the AFC has seen the creation of ‘Champions of Progress,’ an initiative that will use the global platform of football to drive positive change across the region by delivering activations and developing the next generation of talent, from grassroot participants to elite players across AFC competitions. The initiative demonstrates both organizations’ commitment to the development of football, underpinned by NEOM’s ambitions to be an innovative hub for sport.

Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO, NEOM, said: “NEOM’s partnership with the Asian Football Confederation provides us with a valuable platform to collaborate with a global football leader, creating opportunities and positively contributing to the development of sport across Asia. Sport is a key component of Saudi Vision 2030’s ambition to develop a healthy society with strong social bonds and the extension of our partnership with the AFC supports NEOM’s aspirations to become an innovative hub for sport and its goal to have one of the most physically active societies globally. We look forward to building on the success of our relationship with the AFC and continuing our joint efforts to drive the future of football.”

Datuk Seri Windsor John, the AFC General Secretary, said: “Asian football is undoubtedly experiencing the dawn of an exciting new era, and we are delighted to extend our global partnership with NEOM. We thank NEOM for underlining their belief and confidence in the AFC’s world-class competitions, particularly as we look to herald a brand-new chapter of growth and progress for the Asian game in the coming years. This partnership renewal further reinforces the appeal of the AFC’s competitions to engage with the millions of passionate fans of Asian football and we look forward to creating more historic moments with NEOM to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.”

NEOM’s partnering with a globally renowned sports organization such as the AFC, significantly contributes to the liveability of NEOM’s residents and the future of the project’s dynamic economy. It champions NEOM’s ambitions of becoming one of the world’s most physically active societies, with its residents engaging with AFC events and enabling a grassroots development program targeted at youth across Saudi Arabia.

NEOM’s partnership with the AFC has already supported NEOM’s initiatives, such as the Shuhub Community Program, which has engaged 10,000 young people around the Kingdom to date. Through this collaboration, NEOM has provided local boys and girls from football community groups with unique opportunities to participate in AFC matches as player mascots, center circle children, and the first-ever trophy handover children at the AFC Champions League 23/24 Final. With an ambition of supporting the development of future sports leaders by leveraging knowledge transfer opportunities within the AFC, the initiative aims to continue upskilling talent from within NEOM throughout the duration of the partnership.

About NEOM

NEOM is an accelerator of human progress and a vision of what a New Future might look like. It is a region in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea being built from the ground up as a living laboratory – a place where entrepreneurship will chart the course for this New Future. It will be a destination and a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for exceptional livability, creating thriving businesses and reinventing environmental conservation.

NEOM will include hyperconnected, cognitive cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues and tourist destinations. As a hub for innovation, entrepreneurs, business leaders and companies will come to research, incubate, and commercialize new technologies and enterprises in groundbreaking ways. Residents of NEOM will embody an international ethos and embrace a culture of exploration, risk-taking and diversity.

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About the AFC

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of Asian football and one of the six Confederations making up FIFA. Established in 1954, the AFC is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and comprises 47 Member Associations. The AFC organises the AFC Asian Cup and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, which are the flagship Continental

national team competitions, while the AFC Champions League is the premier competition for Asian clubs, drawing millions of fans to the beautiful game across the length and breadth of the Continent and beyond.

About Asia Football Group

Asia Football Group (AFG) is the exclusive commercial agency for the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) competitions from 2023-2028. AFG’s partnership with the AFC covers the commercial rights for all major AFC National Team and Club competitions, including the AFC Asian Cup™, AFC Asian Qualifiers™, AFC Women’s Asian Cup™, AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers, AFC Champions League Elite™, AFC Champions League Two™ as well as AFC youth and futsal competitions.