Al Hilal insult gives Wanderers a leg-up

Al Hilal fans show their colours before the AFC Champions League final first leg against Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium (Getty)

On the eve of his team's AFC Champions League final second leg against Western Sydney Wanderers, the Vice-President of Al Hilal has come under fire after appearing to insult the parents of every non-Al Hilal fan in the country and for suggesting that any rival Saudi supporters should be 'beaten up.'

Al Hilal had attracted widespread support throughout the Kingdom after the club's president, Prince Abdulrahman bin Musa'ad, called on every supporter to do good deeds and give charity to the poor in addition to praying that the Riyadh club would win the AFC Champions League (ACL).

That missive, delivered via Twitter, led to a unified support that saw a mixture of fans from other Saudi clubs standing side-by-side Al Hilal supporters at Parramatta Stadium last Saturday and a wave of backing on social media.

Those fans have turned completely against the club after the stunning outburst from one of their most senior officials. 

It all started with another charitable deed after Al Waleed Bin Talal, listed by Forbes as being the 26th-richest man in the world in 2013, purchased all the tickets for the return leg this weekend in the Saudi capital.

He turned them over to the club to distribute free of charge to supporters and huge numbers turned up late yesterday, local time, to the club's base where they were being distributed.

Some disgruntled fans were unhappy with the process, claiming that any non-Al Hilal fan could simply turn up and obtain a ticket under the pretense of being a club supporter, with the intention of barracking for the Wanderers.

That led the club's Vice-President, Mohamad Al Hmaidani, to issue an impromptu plea which has subsequently gone viral on various social media platforms.

At first he called for all Al Hilal supporters to 'beat up' any rival Saudi fans seen in the stadium and then proceeds to use a highly derogative Arabic expression directed towards the parents of those same supporters.

There has been widespread outrage in the Kingdom over the comments and after initially denying he made them Al Hmaidani has now apologized but he is set to be heavily punished by the club.

Various reports from Saudi Arabia have suggested he will resign after the second leg clash on Sunday (AEDT).

The rising discontent overshadows news that Bin Talal, estimated to be worth $21.5 billion, offered "the club representing the nation" more than $30,000 per player to win the championship.

"A reward of 100,000 (Riyal) will be given to each player and administrative person for obtaining the Asia Cup," he tweeted in Arabic.

Last month, the businessman and philanthropist paid Al-Hilal players more than $11.9 million for the 3-0 semi-final win against Al-Ain.

It's not the first time he has offered the oil state's top athletes an extra incentive to perform.

In September he rewarded Saudi track and field athlete Yousef Masrahi a car for winning the 400m gold at the Asian Games.

According to his Alarab News Channel, the prince has given the national special needs football team 41 cars for winning the World Cup three times.

Source SBS