Saudi Arabia faces more allegations of “sportswashing” – in both Premier League football and elite golf.
Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) ownership of Newcastle United came under further scrutiny this weekend after leaked images of the club’s possible 2022-2023 away kit, which features the same white and green colors as the Kingdom’s national team.
Questions about PIF’s “proximity” to the Saudi state have “remained persistent” since the Premier League allowed a takeover last October, he said The guard. The league had guarantees Saudi Arabia would not control Newcastle but Amnesty International said the images “suggested otherwise”.
Amnesty International UK campaigns director Felix Jakens said if it is true that Newcastle is customizing its kit to match the Saudi national colours, “it shows the power of the Saudi dollar and the kingdom’s determination to wash its brutal, blood-soaked sporting rights entry”.
“Provocative sportswear at its worst”
Saudi Arabia’s association with the sport has become an “integral and controversial part of its rebranding efforts,” he said The guardMiddle East correspondent Martin Chulov. But the takeover of Newcastle was the “kingdom’s boldest move yet, putting it firmly on the world sporting stage and squarely in the crosshairs of its critics”.
If the Premier League confirmed the approval After the takeover, there were “legally binding assurances” that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would not control Newcastle. Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, is listed as chairman of the PIF but the Premier League was content the state would not do business with the football club.
Newcastle’s new Saudi flick is “provocative sportswear at its worst,” said Luke Edwards in The Daily Telegraph. And the design and color “seem to poke fun at the idea” that Newcastle is not controlled by the Saudi state.
“Are you a Saudi in disguise?” Craig asked Hope in the Daily Mail.
Conquest of the golf world
On the eve of the US PGA Championship’s golf major, a “civil war” is brewing at the sport’s elite level following the start of the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series. The series is backed by LIV Golf Investments, whose CEO is former world No. 1 Greg Norman, and the shareholder is the PIF, the sovereign wealth fund that also owns Newcastle.
Due to the PIF’s ties to the Saudi government, LIV Golf has also been accused of sports laundering, Rob Jerram said Today’s golfer. And last week Norman faced “massive criticism” when he dismissed “intense questions” about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
The two-time major champion said “we all made mistakes” when asked about the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi. And in response to a question about 81 Saudi Arabian citizens executed in a single day in March, he added: “I will not get bogged down in whatever is happening in someone else’s world. I heard about it and just moved on.”
“Bitterness and Greed”
Golf first came to Saudi Arabia in the 1930s, and today the nation “wants to take over the sport,” Max Jeffery said in The audience. It’s trying to poach the world’s best golfers to play in its new competition – a series of eight tournaments that will take place in England, America, Thailand and Saudi Arabia. Each tournament has a prize pool of $25 million, and players have been offered up to $100 million. “It’s a far cry from playing around with oil slicks in the sand.”
Fueled by “bitterness and greed,” this civil war is tearing golf apart, Derek Lawrenson said in The Post on Sunday. And the sport is “split quickly and bitterly along certain lines: young and old”.
The PGA Tour has refused to release players who have asked to play in the first event of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series. And the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, follows the lead of the PGA Tour, The Telegraph reported. Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood are among the stars who have been “denied permission to play at the upcoming Breakaway event”.
That macmillan dictionary defines sportswashing as “when a corrupt or tyrannical regime uses sport to improve its reputation”.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has developed “over and over” its Middle Eastern neighbors in an attempt to “paint a rosy picture of the country while also prosecuting those who resist.” First post explained. And it’s not a new concept. The 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy and the 1936 Berlin Olympics were both tools to spread the propaganda of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, respectively.
Saudi Arabia has gone from hosting boxing matches, horse racing and wrestling to owning Newcastle United and a Grand Prix on the Formula 1 calendar. This “sports washing program” comes at a huge cost, a human rights organization said grant freedom. A report published last year estimated that Saudi Arabia has spent at least $1.5bn (£1.1bn) on high-profile international sporting events.
Sportswear is the “dark game of our time” The Irish Time said in 2018. And in the same year, “the term caught the attention of the Oxford Dictionaries, which classified it as part of a “growing range of coinage that uses the suffix ‘washing’ to denote a deceptive, disingenuous and opportunistic appropriation of some to suggest value or cause”.
Could 2022 be the “biggest year” in sportswear, Karim Zidan asked The guard. 2022, ‘booked’ by the Beijing Winter Olympics and the Fifa World Cup in Qatar, is set to be ‘a great year for authoritarian regimes trying to cover up their atrocious human rights records’.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/sport/football/956759/what-is-sportswashing “Dark game of our time”: What is sports washing?