Awani Review

Complete News World

FIFA Women’s World Cup | The yellow card for the Riyadh sponsorship project

FIFA, which came under fire after awarding Qatar the men’s soccer World Cup, finds itself once again in the hot seat due to its links to the Middle Eastern regime.

The proposal to add the Saudi official tourism agency to the list of sponsors of the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held next summer is causing great controversy, although the leaders of the sports organization have not yet announced an official decision in this regard.

The event’s host nations, Australia and New Zealand, in their response to media leaks, said they were “shocked” a few weeks ahead at the prospect of such a union and asked for details from FIFA, which is slow to attend.

Many famous athletes have since noted that it would be wrong to associate the FIFA Women’s World Cup with an authoritarian regime that treats women in a discriminatory manner and does not hesitate to persecute equality activists. LGBTQ+ persecution is also cited as a reason to oppose it.

repressive regime

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the federation being planned by FIFA shows a “shocking indifference” to these abuses and speaks of the need for the sporting organization to “finally” live up to its defensive human rights obligations.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup is a celebration and a celebration of the talent and diversity that exists in the world – it must not become an opportunity to whitewash a government that abuses human rights,” emphasized Minky Worden, Director of Global Initiatives. in HRW.

Photo by Reem Passion from the Reuters archive

Spectators cheer for the players at a soccer match in Jeddah.

“It would be very ironic for the Saudi tourism agency to sponsor the largest women’s sport celebration on the planet when a woman in the country cannot even get a job without being approved by her guardian,” said an official with the Australian Division of Australia. Amnesty International’s Nikita White, who described the projected association with FIFA as “a classic case of whitewashing through sport”.

See also  If Matteo Darci is appointed as the general manager, Jay Boucher could be the next head coach for CH

In a statement, she indicated that the Saudi regime has in recent years released many activists, including women who demanded the right to drive, but continues to “put them in prison after unfair trials” anyone who criticizes their actions, especially in matters of equality.

Amnesty International cites in particular the case of Salma El Shehab, a doctoral student, who was sentenced in August 2022 to 34 years in prison after being kept in solitary confinement for more than nine months.

Image from Amnesty International website

Salma Shehab

She was convicted of using her Twitter account, which has 2,000 followers, to support women’s rights activists.

The Saudi regime has abolished some of the restrictions imposed on women since 2018, but in 2022 enshrined in law a “discriminatory” tutoring system which, according to Amnesty International, keeps women in a position of forced subordination towards men in many subjects.

Interface challenge

Chip Bates, an independent corporate responsibility consultant, points out that the idea of ​​linking the FIFA Women’s World Cup to Saudi Arabia appeared to have come straight from the brain of the comedy show’s screenwriter. Saturday Night Live.

“It’s a clear attempt at whitewashing through sport which is hypocritical and shocking,” the analyst asserts.

Riyadh, he says, wants to diversify its economy and boost tourism, and is seeking to do so to restore its image on the international scene by associating itself with major sporting events.

The regime has also spent hundreds of millions to create a new professional golf circuit, invested in a Premier League soccer club, and recruited star player Cristiano Ronaldo at great expense.

Al Nasr Club photo, provided by Reuters

Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates the founding day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with traditional slogans with members of Al-Nassr Club in Riyadh on February 22.

Despite his pretentions reformists, the regime demeure a “brutal dictate”, indique M. Pitts, who is the alarm of the fact that FIFA puisse envisager a telle association allors that it is tenue, in principle, de faire la promotion droits de the person.

See also  The idea to replace Dominique Ducharme with Guy Carbonneau appeared

“There is a lot of bad faith at the top of the organization,” notes the specialist, who was appalled during the men’s World Cup to see FIFA President Gianni Infantino lash out at people critical of Qatar’s human rights results.

Thomas Juno, a specialist in Middle Eastern affairs at the University of Ottawa, points out that the Saudi regime, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is witnessing real social and economic transformations that cannot be considered “just a facade.”

“This does not mean the country is democratizing. It is still very oppressive, especially for women,” said Mr. Jono, who sees Riyadh’s planned partnership with FIFA as a manifestation of the rivalry between Qatar and Qatar.

They want to whiten their image internationally, but there is also an issue Soft power. They say to themselves: “If Qatar does it, we will do it too,” the professor notes.