Currently the sports culture remains quite weak in the region. During the reign of Saddam, it is said that the whole country contained just 30 gyms, as it is rumored that only aristocrats were allowed access to gyms and fitness centers. However, since the fall of the regime, young and middle-aged Iraqi men’s desire to get in shape has created a rapidly growing demand for sports centers, fitness centers and gyms. The same story is applicable to the Kurdistan Region. As the Region is gradually opening up to Western culture and international media, the population is gaining awareness on the importance of fitness and sports. Additionally, as living standards are on the rise and per capita income is increasing, the local population can currently afford fitness center memberships with more ease, and the growing interest in gyms is noticeable.

On the other hand, as for other forms of sports such like ball sports, the Region’s ‘sports culture’ remains arguably immature. Consequently, the KRG is in the process of implementing a roadmap designed to get the public more involved in sports and provide the youth with a suitable sports infrastructure that would allow them to practice diverse forms of sports. At the moment, only $51 million have been invested in sports related projects, and the KRG is constantly looking for opportunities to undertake sports-oriented investments. Kurdistan’s ministry of Sports and Youth recognize the weakness of the Region’s sports infrastructure, caused by a lack of well-equipped centers and certified trainers, which are currently in high demand.