Found in: Saudi Arabian football clubs
Al-Ittihad or Ittihad Jeddah is a Saudi Arabian sports club based in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. Officially formed in 1928, it is the oldest surviving club in Saudi Arabia, and one of the most popular and successful.
In 1927 a group of young men from Jeddah decided to hold a meeting to discuss the establishment of local Jeddah football (soccer) club. The attendees were Hamza Fitaihi "actual founder", Abdulsamad Najeeb Alsaady, Ismail Zahran, Ali Yamani, Abduazeez Jameel, Abdulateef Jameel, Othman Banajah and Ahmad Abu Talib. Ali Sultan and Ahmed Almir.
The name was coined by AbdulAziz Jameel who was quoted as saying: "Since we're gathered here united, let's call it United (Ittihad)". The late Ali Sultan was named as the club's first president, and it is worth to mention that Hasan Fitaihi was the first known fund contributor to the club.
In 1929 Ittihad played their first game, against rivals al-Riyadhi. After winning 3-0, Ittihad was given the seniority of Jeddan clubs. al-Riyadhi disbanded soon afterwards, leaving Ittihad as the only surviving club from the early days.
By the 1930s many clubs were formed, and challenge tournaments were regularly held, often sponsored by local businessmen. In 1937, Ittihad played their first game against eternal rival, al-Ahli (which ended in a draw). Football continued to be played on an unofficial basis until 1957 when the Saudi Football Federation was formed, and football clubs officially recognised. The first official tournament was held in that year, the King's cup, which was the premier competition until the formation of the national league in 1975. Ittihad didn't win the inaugural tournament, but did win it the next year, making it the first official trophy that Ittihad won.
In the mid seventies, the large oil boom allowed the Saudi government to lavish on sport. The General Presidency of youth welfare was formed, and existing football clubs were put under its control and turned into multi-sport clubs. al-Ittihad (as well as all other clubs) was transformed to the modern club that it is today.
Today, Ittihad is one of the best teams in Saudi Arabia and one of the best teams in Asia. It is hugely successful not just in football, but in basketball, water polo, table tennis, volleyball, and swimming, amongst others. In all, Ittihad has won 661 trophies. However, football remains the primary sport.
Ittihad is now based in Sahafa street, Mushrefa district, in east Jeddah, where they have a large sports complex. Senior teams play official games at the municipal sports centre, in the south of the city, while youth teams play at the club.
The club is renowned throughout the region for its fans. They are particularly famous for their loyalty and chants, which are copied by many others. The head of the Ittihad fan club, Saleh al-Qarni, even records studio versions of the year's chants which are widely sold in Jeddah and beyond.
In December 2006, the club offered what was thought to be the most lucrative deal in Arabian football to Portuguese midfielder Luis Figo. It was said that Luis Figo will join the club on July 1st 2007 after his current contract with Inter Milan expires. However, not long after, Figo's current club, Internazionale released report that Figo had yet to sign a contract with Al-Ittihad and will not be joining. Figo has since extended his contract at Internazionale till the end of the 2007-2008 season citing that the terms of the agreement were not kept and thus voided the contract.
Mohamed Kallon's scandal
Al-Hilal lawyers team reported that Mansour Al-Balawi has offered 16 millions to Mohamed Kallon to move to Jeddah and play for Al-Ittihad again. Kallon was transported from Riyadh to Jeddah undercover but Jeddah Airport police have arrested him .
Kallon rejected a one-and-a-half-year deal worth 10 million U.S dollar from Al-Hilal and raised a lawsuit against them due to the hostage situation that he was exposed to when he was leaving via Jeddah Airport.
The case ended by suspending of Al-Ittihad manager Al-Balawi.
It was later believed that it was all a hoax, to set up Mansour, to get him suspended after a highly successful time spent at the club by Al-Hilal which all Ittihad fans believe to be true.
And all of this is a big lie made by Al-Hilal manger and other prince to suspend Al-Balawi.
In a press conference on January 9, 2006. President of the club Mansour Albalawi announced that SELA SPORT Co (which is the sponsor of Saudi National Team) will pay 350 millions SAR to sponsor AL-ITTIHAD CLUB for 5 seasons.
Since 2008/09: Lotto.
Current first team squad
As of September, 2008
|ITTIHAD usual starting lineup for 2007–08 season.|
(2008/2009 Transfer window)
Notable former players
* Dettmar Cramer
* Bob Houghton
* Vanderlei Luxemburgo
* Dimitri Davidovic
* Osvaldo Ardiles
* Jose Oscar Bernardi
* Jose Candinho
* Tomislav Ivic
* Anghel Iordanescu
* Bruno Metsu
* Vahid Halilhodzic
* Estevam Soares
* Gabriel Calderon
Club honours (football)AFC Champions League: 2
2004 6-3 vs. Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma
2005 5-3 vs. Al-AinAsian Cup Winners Cup : 1
1999 3-2 vs. Chunnam DragonsArab Champions League : 1
2005 4-1 vs. CS SfaxienSaudi-Egyptian Super Cup : 2
* King of Saudi Arabia Cup (1) : 2003
* President of Egypt Cup (1) : 2001
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
21432 P.O. Box 5945
Tel : +966 (2) 6728888
Fax : +966 (2) 6720112 / 6715184
Al Ittihad at the AFC Official website
Al Ittihad at the AFC Champions League Official website
Alittihad in Languages (English - Francais - German - Italian)
Al Ittihad at the Arab Champions League Official website :