Arts & Culture

Turki Al-Sheikh – The honest advisor who transferred global amusement to Saudi Arabia

Al-Sheikh is leading an unprecedented renaissance in sports and cultural arenas



Known as a man of difficult tasks and a fiercely loyal man to his king and country, Turki Al-Sheikh is now leading an unprecedented renaissance in the sport and cultural arenas. 


Al-Sheikh is known as an honest advisor, and is one of the most notable faces on social networking sites, busily interacting with the comments he receives on his posts. He is also controversial, as he comes armed with infinite frankness that surprisingly absorbs all constructive and other criticisms.


Story of Ambition


Turki bin Abdul-Muhsin bin Abdul Latif Al-Sheikh was born on 4 August 1981, in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. He has three sons: Nasser, Muhammad, and Salman. 


In 2000, he graduated from the King Fahd Security College with a BA in Security Sciences and has undertaken many courses in criminology, investigation, risk management, and management.


He began his practical duties in the government sector, at the Ministry of Interior, and continued until he assumed the rank of Captain. He then moved to work in the Emirate of Riyadh for two years, after which he worked in the office of the Governor of the Riyadh region.


This was followed by stints in the office of the Minister of Defence and the Diwan of the Crown Prince for three years, until January 2015, when he was appointed as an advisor in the royal court at an excellent rank.


In June 2017, a royal order was issued to promote him from being an advisor at the royal court to the rank of minister. He was assigned the position of Chairperson of the Board of Directors at the General Authority for Sports and President of the Saudi Olympic Committee.


Following this, he was chosen as President of the Arab Football Association and Chairperson of the Sports Federation Administration for Islamic Solidarity Games. He is now the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the General Entertainment Authority.


Al-Sheikh also possesses many talents, manifested in writing lyrical poetry, with the cooperation of the most famous Arab artists. Because of his love for sports, his official positions were preceded by honorary presidencies in more than one Saudi sports club, such as the Al-Taawon Club in Buraidah, Al-Wehda Club in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, and Spanish Almeria.


Throughout his career, his management of tasks has been characterized by rigor and commitment to decisiveness and implementation in record times and confirmed by numbers and transformations on the ground.


Turki Al-Sheikh - The honest advisor who transferred global amusement to Saudi Arabia
Turki Al-Sheikh – The honest advisor who transferred global amusement to Saudi Arabia



Among the most prominent testaments to this, have been: his winning the award for the most influential person in football for the year 2017 at the 12th Dubai International Sports Conference; the Sports Culture Personality Award in the Arab World in 2017; the Arab Sports Personality Award for 2018; and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Award for Sports Creativity.


‘Now the World Comes to Us!’


“Our goal for Saudi Arabia is to become one of the top four points in entertainment in Asia, and in the top ten in the world in the first stage,” Al-Sheikh has said.


After his significant success at the General Sports Authority, Al-Sheikh moved to another task as Chairperson of the General Entertainment Authority, which is an equally important task. 


Al-Sheikh has greater aspirations if we look at his speech at the opening of the Riyadh Season. He said that he is from an average family and that his parents used to save their salaries for two years so that they could travel to see what is going on in the world. “But now the world comes to us!” 



Huge strategy


From day one, Al-Sheikh has proposed a huge and impressive strategy that included its most prominent features: strengthening Saudi Arabia’s competitive position in the global entertainment sector. 


He also aims to place the country among the first four entertainment destinations in Asia and the top ten in the world. This would encourage investors from home and abroad, and establish partnerships with companies. 


It would also mean allocating suitable lands for establishing cultural and entertainment projects, supporting talented writers, authors, and directors, and providing job opportunities for Saudis in all areas provided by the entertainment sector. 


In addition, the focus on arts would mean creating new sectors for investments, beginning with the cultural sector, celebrating arts initiatives as a whole, and attracting international exhibitions.



Adopting and supporting innovative ideas


Al-Sheikh has called on all parties and every person in the kingdom to submit their proposals and visions for new projects. Promising to support and embrace all appropriate ideas. On that day, he said: “Our ambition is for the citizen and resident to find places and events at the end of every week to spend enjoyable times for himself and his family.


There have been several significant developments in Saudi Arabia since he has taken over the General Entertainment Authority.


A huge strategy has been launched in which the authority has tried to satisfy all tastes, affirming its determination to cooperate with the relevant government agencies and the private sector. It seeks to improve and develop the entertainment sector as a promising and dynamic sector.


Among the most prominent of the big changes brought on by the General Entertainment Authority under Al-Sheikh, was the launch of the “Live It” platform, as well as the launching of huge events under the name ‘Saudi Seasons’.


The Riyadh Season was part of this. It was put in place as the largest national entertainment season in the history of Saudi Arabia. It has enjoyed unprecedented events that attracted the most prominent global entertainment and international tournaments, events, and names, and in all artistic, sports, and other fields.


Thus, as an implicit goal, it has achieved great marketing for the entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia, so that the world can recognize it in the most beautiful image of its ancient civilization and history.


This amazing mobility of the General Entertainment Authority has made many specialists in the field of tourism and entertainment and confirms that it offers a very competitive business. It also means that it can surpass ancient neighboring countries in the entertainment and tourism industry. 


This means leaps towards achieving the entertainment image according to Vision 2030, which aims to raise the entertainment sector’s contribution to GDP from 3% to 6%. This comes in pursuit of the authority’s ambition to localize 50% of the entertainment sector and contribute to supporting the local economy in Saudi Arabia.


On the other hand, he met with great praise from the sports street, Al-Sheikh did not hesitate to support every sporting achievement by the country, and the last of that was a huge honorary party held by the General Entertainment Authority for Al-Hilal Club, which returned from Japan crowned winner of AFC Champions League. He also declared his readiness to hold honorary matches for former stars in the Saudi national team and the memory of athletes in general.


Correcting tracks at Sports Authority


Al-Sheikh assumed the position of President at the General Sports Authority in September 2017. During his time in the post, he managed to create a quantum leap in Saudi sports within about 15 months. His leadership of the Board of Directors at the authority is a real breakthrough for him, as he managed in a short time to win all the bets. He also benefited from the support of the leader of the Saudi Vision, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.


In a record time, Al-Sheikh was able to solve most of the main sports issues, including the financial problems that Saudi clubs suffered from, leading to the launch of the Saudi Sports Media Federation.


Among his most prominent efforts are:

A new niche for Saudi sports:


Ending the problem of accumulated debts at Saudi clubs, and the “Support Your Club” initiative, along with the Saudi goalkeeper development program, were the main achievements of Al-Sheikh.


He also changed the name of the Saudi Professional League to the “Prince Mohammed bin Salman League”, which during his reign has become one of the most prominent local leagues. The league’s marketing value in 2018 ranked sixth in the world.


Moreover, his efforts included the comprehensive development of the stadium environment, as well as the application of video technology in an attempt to reduce the errors of referees during the matches of the local championships.


In addition, he succeeded in attracting the most expensive foreign professionals in the history of sports to the Kingdom, achieving the highest income from sports broadcasting contracts, and establishing an Oliver Kahn Academy to develop the level of goalkeepers.


Al-Sheikh also held the most successful King Cup edition by motivating fans and players with big prizes in matches, raising rewards for winning the League and the King Cup, and rebranding club logos.


Al-Sheikh also made extensive changes to the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee by launching 16 new federations. His contributions led to achieving the first Olympic medal in the history of the Kingdom. He also formed a committee to explore football talents in Saudi Arabia and announced a scholarship program for talented people in football for eight countries. It also saw the participation of the largest Saudi delegation that participated in the World Cup, of more than 11,000 people.


International events


Among his accomplishments is Saudi Arabia’s hosting of the most prominent international sporting championships at all levels. These include the holding of the Handball World Cup, the Royal Rumble Wrestling Championships, the Riyadh Marathon, Formula One’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the King Salman Chess Cup Championship, electronic games competitions (Kafu Games), Ramadan tournaments, and popular tournaments such as (the Baloot game).


He also implemented a cooperative program with La Liga to train nine of Saudi Arabia’s players in the Spanish league. Al-Sheikh also signed agreements with the most prominent leagues in the world to host their Super Cup competitions, such as the Italian Serie A.


During his presidency of the Sports Authority, it was decided to allow women and families to attend football matches and participate in the activities of the Authority. The legendary “Al-Hosn” program was also implemented with a distinctive Arabic version.


Poet and Writer


Al-Sheikh is known for his talent in writing lyric poetry, despite his many concerns and movements on Twitter and Facebook. He is still present in that scene with patriotic and lyrical texts, and he collaborates with the most prominent Arab figures in that field and music makers such as Salem Al Hindi and Mohsen Jaber. 


Indeed, in light of his unceasing ambition, he recently announced his direction to scriptwriting of TV drama, pointing out that he is writing a new Arabic TV series on an international scale that will see the light in 2020.


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