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Going global with the Beautiful Game

19 December 2022

As World Cup fever grips the globe, Newcastle played host to an all-action futsal fixture between Team Newcastle and Saudi Arabia’s Princess Nourah University (PNU).

The two universities’ women’s teams played at Newcastle University’s Sports Centre as part of a high-profile visit by PNU to reaffirm the partnership between the institutions. The players offered a fast-paced encounter, with non-stop goal-to-goal action. And while all eyes were on the big World Cup final, the friendly match delivered big plays, brilliant individual skill and outstanding team effort.

The match was one of the highlights of a day-long visit by PNU to Newcastle University. Among the spectators were senior officials from the two partner institutions, including Dr Einas Al Eissa, President of Princess Nourah University and Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University.

The delegation celebrated the links between the two institutions and their growing collaboration across a number of academic areas, including Medical Sciences, Sport Science, Energy and PhD applicant support.

Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University is a public women's university located in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. It is the largest all-female University in the World.


Speaking of the visit, Professor Richard Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Global and Sustainability, Newcastle University, said: “Sport is a powerful way of bringing different people with very different backgrounds together. We want our students to be global citizens and those interactions with different cultures can start on a futsal pitch or in a classroom.”

Dr Dunia AL Farraj, Sport activities Supervisor of PNU, added: “Saudi Arabia’s Princess Nourah University (PNU) team played an all-eye-catching actionable game with hosts Newcastle. As part of the high-profile visit, PNU played a remarkable all woman game with Newcastle at their University’s Sports Centre to join the partnership and reaffirm relations between the institutions. The friendly match delivered an outstanding team effort on both ends. Our game with Newcastle University was a kickstart of our friendly collaboration and as part of it is, the female athlete performance pathway, using University as an environment to foster and progress talented athletes.”

Futsal is a football-based sport played mainly indoors on a hard-floored court that’s smaller than a football pitch. It is part of Newcastle University’s nationally recognised sports provision and the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) programme.

The match highlighted one key strategic area of collaboration between Newcastle University and PNU – Sport. With funding from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s Gulf Strategic Fund, the two universities will deliver a project entitled ‘Future Female Leaders in Sport’. The project will focus on the delivery of female leadership, coaching and sport development skills to support the rapid change and growth of sport and physical activity in KSA. 

Katy Storie, Director of Sport, Newcastle University, said: “It was a great privilege to host this historic match between our two universities. The huge changes in Saudi Arabia supporting women and girls sport have seen significant positive impact and we are so proud to support this through our outreach activity. The players had a fantastic day and we are committed to continuing developing our partnership through sport.”