Saudi Arabia dealt a new blow in its attempts to polish its reputation in the world of sports. It was announced Tuesday that the North American PGA Tour organization plans to merge with rival LIV Golf, which is funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). This was announced by senior executives of both organizations in America CNBC news channel. No final agreement has been reached yet, but the announcement is a huge and unexpected step in the world of golf.
The highly anticipated agreement also includes the DP World Tour, previously known as the European Tour. PGA and DP have a history of rivalry and conflict with LIV. A golf rival offered “lots of money” to rip off golfers from the PGA, which in turn punished the defecting players. It resulted in mutual lawsuits.
None of that was noticeable in the CNBC studio this Tuesday. Jay Monahan, CEO of the PGA, sat next to Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the face of the fund that has invested billions in LIV. Together, they used flowery language about the future of golf. “What we’re seeing today is the standardization of golf,” Monahan said. “Together we can grow faster than in the past 10 to 20 years,” Al-Rumayyan said. CNBC said the lawsuits are pending.
Al-Rumayyan confirmed on air that he wanted to invest billions of dollars in the merged company through the Public Investment Fund. It has to do with advertising spending for the Saudi government, and perhaps the ironic variety of that.”Sports washIn addition, sports act as a charm offensive to divert attention from human rights abuses.
LIV has often been associated with this strategy. Northern Irish golfer Graeme McDowell, affiliated with LIV, mistakenly admitted he allowed himself to borrow. He opposed former US President Donald Trump, who made his golf courses available for LIV competitions Wall Street Journal that LIV was “a great thing” for Saudi Arabia.
“From Khashoggi’s perspective, that has gone a long way,” Trump said. Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared in 2018 while visiting a Saudi embassy in Istanbul, and his body was never found. TRUMP: “Looks like that’s completely blown away.”
“Along with the magic of golf courses and television cameras, repression is growing in Saudi Arabia,” Amnesty International said in a statement, according to international media. The human rights organization describes the merger with the PGA as “just part of a broader effort to become a major sporting force and try to divert attention from the country’s appalling human rights record.”
Read also The controversial Saudi Golf Championship revolves around money and “sports washing”.
Saudi Arabia is also making progress in the international soccer world. Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo has played with the Saudi Al-Nasr team in recent months. Next season he will have competition from an old acquaintance. On Tuesday, it was announced that former Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema He signs a contract with the federation. The Saudis have been tempting big players for some time to associate their names with the country.
For example, the Argentine star Lionel Messi receives a generous fee for his role as tourism ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Messi is the face of PR campaigns, but the Argentine may also play in the Saudi League next season. It is clear that he will no longer play for PSG next season. Despite speculation in the French press about a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia, it is not yet known where Messi’s future lies.
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