Saudi Arabia is on track to host the football World Cup in 2034, raising concern among human rights campaigners.
Money talks, and sportswashing often works. Some of football’s biggest names now call the Saudi Pro League home.
Prince Mohammad bin Salman is trying to rebrand the kingdom in the model of Qatar and the UAE – two states with human rights issues that have become part of the global order.
Once rivalling tours are merging and money and competition might be why
French soccer star Karim Benzema will join Ronaldo in the Saudi Pro League, and others may follow.
But is it a fair way to build sporting influence?
The Gulf state has an insatiable appetite for sporting glory.
During the 2022 FIFA World Cup, many highlighted the controversial and politicized climate of the tournament, but sport and politics are rarely, if ever, separable.
Research shows the strength of team loyalty.
There are risks in biting the hand that feeds you. But sporting bodies that don’t consider their stakeholders’ values will be left at the start line.
For all the efforts at reimagining golf to attract consumer interest, the sportwashing discourse has brought an avalanche of negative attention to the LIV series, and rightfully so.
Companies may be using the positive impacts of sport to divert attention from their roles in furthering climate change.