SMC Announces King Abdullah Financial Districtas Title Partner of Inaugural KAFD Globe Soccer European Awards

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 8th May 2024

SMC, the exclusive commercial partner for the Globe Soccer Awards, today announced a partnership with the King Abdullah Financial District Development and Management Company (KAFD DMC) as Title Partner for the inaugural European edition of the awards ceremony, set to be held on May 28th and 29th at Cala di Volpe in Sardinia, Italy. The prestigious event will now be known as the KAFD Globe Soccer European Awards.

This partnership marks a significant moment for both organizations, bringing together KAFD’s commitment to empowering the Kingdom’s sports sector with Globe Soccer’s recognition of global footballing achievements. Recent years have seen the likes of global superstars Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Erling Haaland all receive – and collect in person – Globe Soccer awards.

Since 2010, the Globe Soccer Awards has celebrated the football industry by honoring not only players, but also coaches, club presidents, referees, agents, and other key industry stakeholders. This dedication to inclusivity, along with fan-voted awards that have attracted more than 170 million votes in the past four years, has solidified the Globe Soccer Awards as a premier footballing event.

As part of the partnership, KAFD will introduce an exciting addition to the Globe Soccer Awards lineup: the ‘KAFD Sportsmanship Award.’ Going beyond mere competition and winning and losing, the award celebrates athletes who exemplify the true spirit of the game, integrity, and respect on and off the field within the global football community. The new award stands as a powerful reflection of KAFD’s value-driven leadership and ethos, fostering a culture that embraces the essence of sportsmanship and promotes empathy and inclusivity enriching the game itself – a culture that underpins KAFD’s sports program and extends to its community as a whole. The "KAFD Sportsmanship Award" will be voted on alongside the "Best Men's Player Award", which will also be sponsored by KAFD.

The agreement signifies a commitment to strategically position KAFD and Saudi Arabia at the forefront of global sports through the high-profile Globe Soccer Awards, promoting the Kingdom as a leading sports and business destination.

“There has been a seismic shift within the sports industry in the Kingdom over the last few years, setting the stage for a new era in football. During the 2023 summer transfer window, Saudi Pro League clubs collectively invested nearly US$1 billion, acquiring 94 overseas players, including 37 from Europe's 'big five' leagues. The national sport now captivates 80% of the Saudi population, whether by playing, attending games, or following the sport.” said Gautam Sashittal, Chief Executive Officer of KAFD DMC.

He added: “As a key enabler of Saudi Arabia's socioeconomic ambitions, we recognize the pivotal role we play in spearheading the development of this sector, propelling it onto the global stage. We are thrilled to partner with the Globe Soccer Awards as the Title Partner for the European 2024 edition. The collaboration perfectly embodies our commitment to community building, promoting a vibrant sports scene in the Kingdom, and expanding its burgeoning regional and global influence in the world of sports and entertainment.”

Set in the heart of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, KAFD is home to a unique 5-asset class mixed-use district of office spaces, luxury residences and hotels, retail outlets, and entertainment and cultural venues, across a land area of 1.6 square kilometers, designed to transform the way urban communities live, work, learn, and play. A landmark development and the largest LEED-certified mixed-use business district in the world that epitomizes the core values of Vision 2030 of quality of life and sustainable development.

Tommaso Bendoni, CEO of Globe Soccer, said of the partnership: “We are delighted to welcome KAFD as Title Partner for the KAFD Globe Soccer European Awards. Their support signifies a tremendous step forward for Globe Soccer’s mission to celebrate the beautiful game on a global scale. We share a deep passion for football and believe this partnership will elevate our ceremony to even greater heights.”

For some 14 years, the Globe Soccer Awards has been an annual event to recognize and celebrate achievements in world football. Unique in its focus on all aspects of the sport, the awards acknowledge top-performing individuals, clubs, and industry stakeholders worldwide. Since 2020, fan-voting has played a central role in determining the award winners. This year’s KAFD Globe Soccer European Awards represent the first edition of a new continental series recognising the best performers in Europe.