The Middle Eastern country has frequently been accused of heavily investing in sports and utilising their events to smear its international brand.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently stated in an interview that he does not mind being accused of ‘sportswashing.’
“If sportswashing increases my GDP by 1%, then we’ll keep doing it.” I don’t mind. Sport has contributed 1% to my GDP growth, and I am looking for another 1.5%. Whatever you want to call it, we’re going to get that 1.5%,” he declared in an interview with Fox Sports.
The Middle Eastern country has been accused of extensively investing in sports and utilizing their events to smear its international brand.
Prince Mohammed has granted very few interviews to Western media outlets, notably since the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist, by Saudi agents in an operation likely ordered by the prince, according to US intelligence. The prince denied any wrongdoing.
Following Khashoggi’s murder, he stated on Fox News Channel, “We tried to reform the security system to ensure that these kinds of mistakes don’t happen again.”
“I made a mistake. “It was painful,” the crown prince remarked while assuring that “everyone involved” was imprisoned.
The prince’s far-reaching social changes have changed the kingdom from an ultraconservative state regulated by a rigid interpretation of Islamic law to an aspirational entertainment powerhouse, with billions of dollars invested in everything from top football stars and golf tournaments to video games.
However, the prince has demonstrated that he is much less tolerant of opposition than his predecessors. Saudis who criticize his actions suffer long prison sentences or perhaps the death penalty, and this has even extended to Saudis living in the United States.