This article is also available in: Italiano
Our series on Sport and Soft Power continues, this time we talk about Saudi Arabia and its recent mobilization in sports.
War to Qatar
The first big difference to make between this state and Qatar is related to the final goal, completely different for the two countries. Riyadh already exercises undisputed hegemony in the Arabian Peninsula and in much of the Middle East and this has meant that, compared to its neighbors, the strategies are completely different. In fact, Saudi soft power in sport was born as a sort of “reaction” to an increasingly constant Qatari media presence, especially in view of the World Cup.
The exponential growth of Saudi investments in football and sport in general with the approach of 2022 is no coincidence. Riyadh sees the success of
Mohammed bin Salman, the key
The key figure, however, is to be found in the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Since the latter’s rise to power, the Kingdom has changed a lot, returning ever stronger and more present on the international scene, both for merit and for infamy.
The model to follow is precisely that of the many hated rivals and it is no coincidence that at the end of October Mohammed bin Salman showed a very strong interest in Manchester United. At the moment, however, the football spotlight is on the upcoming Italian Super Cup, which will be played in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on January 16th.
Italy and the war
The complex balance of relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar could however touch the Bel Paese even before the cup. In fact, there are thousands of controversies in assigning this competition to the Saudis, both in human and economic terms. In fact, a very strong controversy has recently arisen over the broadcasting rights of European sport in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi television channel beoutQ was in fact accused by beIN Sports, Qatari, of broadcasting the latter’s broadcasts in a systematic and pirate manner; a very heavy accusation that goes to connect with the enormous political crisis between the two countries. At the moment there has not yet been a verdict on the issue, but this could greatly influence our Serie A given the amount of money that each Doha spends to buy the rights.
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