Saudi World Cup 2034: Sportswashing like you’ve never seen it before

As the 2034 World Cup edges towards Saudi Arabia’s grasp, sportswashing is once again threatening to rear its ugly head – but this time, on a scale far larger than ever seen before.

Sport is notorious as an exceptionally powerful tool for nations seeking to alter their wider public perception, both within their borders and beyond.

Through sporting showcases, politically ambitious states are able to broadcast a tailored message to each corner of the globe, often in pursuit of laundering a reputation tarnished by human rights abuses.

In the past few years, Saudi Arabia has led the charge with their sportswashing initiatives – from the formation of LIV Golf to their pillaging of European football’s top stars, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Neymar Jr.

And now, they look set to host arguably the biggest spectacle of them all: the FIFA World Cup.

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin hands over World Cup duties to emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim ibn Hamad Al Thani. Image Credits: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Featured Image Credits: My Profit Tutor on Unsplash.

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