Mohammed bin Salman unfazed by sportswashing claims

by Joanne Miller

Title: Mohammed bin Salman Unfazed by Allegations of Sportswashing in Saudi Arabia

In a recent interview with Fox News, Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, stated that he remains indifferent to allegations of sportswashing made against his country. Despite criticisms from various quarters, bin Salman asserts that if sportswashing can contribute to a 1 percent increase in Saudi Arabia’s GDP, he will continue pursuing such initiatives. This article delves into the controversy surrounding Saudi Arabia’s involvement in global sports and addresses the crown prince’s response to the accusations.

Saudi Arabia’s Aggressive Sports Involvement:
With the support of its Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia has significantly intensified its participation in global sports in recent years. One prominent example is the establishment of LIV Golf, which successfully recruited high-profile players from the PGA Tour. Such collaborations ultimately led to a groundbreaking union between the two entities. Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s soccer teams have made waves in the European transfer market by making substantial investments, including the acquisitions of Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Accusations of Sportswashing:
Critics argue that these sports investments are predominantly aimed at improving Saudi Arabia’s tarnished global image, a practice known as sportswashing. By associating themselves with prestigious sporting events and high-profile athletes, Saudi Arabia attempts to divert attention from controversial issues and present a more appealing image to the world. Detractors argue that such actions undermine the essence of sport by using it as a tool for political gain and deflecting attention from human rights concerns and alleged wrongdoing within the kingdom.

Bin Salman’s Response:
In response to the allegations, Mohammed bin Salman unapologetically stated that he prioritizes economic growth over the accusations of sportswashing. According to, he argued that a 1 percent increase in GDP from sports-related ventures was a worthwhile pursuit. Moreover, the crown prince expressed his ambition to achieve an additional 1.5 percent growth, emphasizing his commitment to utilizing sports as a catalyst for economic development.

While Saudi Arabia’s increasing involvement in global sports has garnered attention, allegations of sportswashing persist. Critics argue that the country’s investments are driven by political agendas rather than genuine love for the sport. However, Mohammed bin Salman remains resolute, highlighting the potential economic benefits that can be derived through such endeavors. As the debate continues, it remains to be seen how Saudi Arabia’s sports-related ventures will impact its international standing and whether economic gains can truly overshadow concerns of ethical authenticity.

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