In a first for Saudi Arabia, its Greens team – a group of all-Saudi, football female players – headed to Copenhagen, Denmark, for the first edition of the Global Goals World Cup (GGWC). According to Vogue, the eight women graced the event in custom Arwa Al Banawi outfits with the words ‘WE ARE A KINGDOM’ printed on the back in capital letters, as well as Arabic calligraphy. The Greens, established by the Saudi Sports for All Federation two months ago specifically to promote environmental causes, saw their participation in the event as an opportunity to use their passion for football to raise awareness on environmental issues and instigate a climate of positive change back home.
The Global Goals World Cup is an activist football tournament for women that aims to raise awareness on key societal issues such as hunger, poverty, and climate change. According to a recent article by Arab News, the tournament “frames the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a sport, with 30 teams worldwide competing to create the kind of world they would like to see. Each team creates an action plan with a particular global goal and strives to achieve it in their own country.”
Speaking to the news site, Rawh Alarfaj, who is the 34-year-old leader of the team, said, “Global Goals isn’t just about football. It’s about the SDGs and how to achieve them through sports, specifically female football. It’s very good to take part in sports for a cause and to have this culture in Saudi Arabia.”
As highlighted by Vogue, the Greens chose to take up the mantle of Life on Land, “to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.” On their Instagram account, they explained further.
“We met teams from all around the world who came to join forces to achieve the sustainable development goals. Some worked for reducing inequalities, others worked for green energy and we worked for Life on Land. What was important was to see the power of sports bringing nations together for peace, working for our earth and sharing experiences. What a pleasure to meet you all! Thank you GGWCup.”