The Saudis are on the sports map and this is nothing new. Although this year we felt it even more strongly, when the local soccer league acquired hundreds of millions of stars, for years the controversial kingdom has been burying its hand in various sports.
Headline: Cristiano Ronaldo after breaking the record for appearances in international matches | Reuters
Beyond football, you can see its fingerprints in F1, golf, boxing, tennis and other sports on which the Saudi fund spends huge sums of money, as part of what is known as "sports laundering."
This is Saudi Arabia's way of improving its image, which is widely believed to be "stained with blood" by the poor level of human rights within its borders, as expressed by a mural artist near the San Siro stadium ahead of the Saudi-owned Champions League match between AC Milan and Newcastle.
The painting shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman next to his country's Italian national team coach, Roberto Mancini, holding a ball with their hands covered in blood.
"If 'sports laundering' contributes even one percent to my country's GDP growth, we will continue to do so," bin Salman told Fox News.
Muhammad bin Salman. The big money is talking, photo: Reuters
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