Mens International Exhibitions

With game in London, Saudis use soccer to reshape reputation

With high expectations that border on shamelessly over-optimistic, Saudi Arabia is bringing its soccer league to London this weekend in a bid to compete with the Premier League and other top European competitions.

The Middle Eastern country's Super Cup, a match between last season's league champion and cup winner, will be staged Saturday in west London, only a few miles from a Premier League showdown between Chelsea and Arsenal.

"We are raising our profile and showcasing the quality of our league," Saudi Arabia soccer federation general secretary Luai Al-Subaiey told The Associated Press. "This is part of a long-term engagement plan that fits with our ambition as a football-loving, global country. We are investing in our own league and building its reputation."