Economic benefits is why I invest in sports – Saudi Crown Prince

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman has revealed that the country invests so much in sports for its economic benefits.

Bin Salman addressed accusations of sportswashing, stating that he is focused on the economic benefits sports investments bring rather than the sports itself.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Arabia Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has made big moves in the world of sports in recent times, including the acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club, and the launch of LIV Golf.

They have also made substantial investments in the Saudi Pro League, buying top footballers from Europe’s top-flight leagues, like Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

Meanwhile, the term “sportswashing” refers to the practice of using sports investments and events to improve a country’s image on the global stage, potentially diverting attention from other main issues.

Despite criticism and concerns over human rights violations, such as mass executions and issues related to women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights in Saudi Arabia, the country has continued its sports-related investments.

In an interview with Fox News, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reiterated that he is primarily interested in the economic benefits of these sports ventures.

He stated, “If sportswashing is going to increase my GDP by 1 per cent, then we’ll continue doing sportswashing.

“I don’t care (about the term). I have 1 per cent growth in GDP from sport, and I am aiming for another 1.5 per cent. Call it what you want – we are going to get that 1.5 per cent,” he added.

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