LIV Golf risks becoming an irrelevance in Saudi sportswashing portfolio | Ewan Murray

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Rebel tour has lost momentum heading into 2023 leaving those tempted by the riches promised facing an uncertain future

It is telling that discussion around Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to the Saudi Arabian league focuses on the player’s inexorable slide towards footballing oblivion. Ronaldo was unveiled at the end of a year in which at least 147 people had been executed in Saudi Arabia, according to the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights. Ronaldo’s 526 million Instagram and 106 million Twitter followers will now be afforded updates from Al Nassr as football obsessives debate his on-field decline. The Saudis have bought one of the game’s iconic figures, meaning goals and assists barely matter. Neither does the source of Ronaldo’s weekly wage. Sportswashing works.

Newcastle United’s charge into the upper echelons of the Premier League and the hero worship afforded to Eddie Howe as a direct consequence will be regarded in the Kingdom as another success story. The Saudi Arabian grand prix is normalised. If Tyson Fury fights Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia in March, a boxing world will shrug its shoulders.

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Written by Ewan Murray
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2023/jan/02/liv-golf-risks-becoming-an-irrelevance-in-growing-saudi-sportswashing-portfolio under the title “LIV Golf risks becoming an irrelevance in Saudi sportswashing portfolio | Ewan Murray”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.