Foreign players inspired the Saudi Professional League

The inclusion of foreign players in the respective teams have increased the quality of the division as a whole

The decision to raise the number of foreign players in the Saudi Professional League to eight for the first time last season was taken to increase the level of intensity and competition between the 16 clubs participating, while enhancing the quality of the mid-table clubs and increasing competition within the league.

The sporting authorities in Saudi Arabia decided to involve more foreigners in the teams' squads, which was part of a larger project supported by the local government.

Funds were raised to increase the level of intensity of the domestic matches through the increasing numbers from international players.

The last few years saw a slight decline in the performance and results of Saudi football, though, due to the lack of local talent and their high market prices.

So the decision to raise the number of foreigners was a practical solution to help raise the technical quality of the teams and league itself.

As a result, the sporting authorities in Saudi Arabia opted to reduce the number of foreigners allowed per squad to seven, as well as require teams to have one player born in the country.

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This was done in order to increase the quality of the local players which will benefit the national team, and play a role in making the domestic competitions gain followers regionally and internationally through social media.

It's important to mention that the decision to raise the foreigners from seven to eight was only applied last season in the Saudi Professional League, with the teams only allowed to name seven in their starting line-ups with one on the bench.

Squads for this season involve 109 foreigners compared to last season's 128, coming from 40 different nationalities and six continents.