News ID : 148273
Publish Date : 8/28/2023 10:36:22 AM
An Arabic selfie with football- Part one


An Arabic selfie with football- Part one

One day, the Emir of Qatar puts an Arab Abaya or Bisht on Lionel Messi's shoulders and takes a souvenir picture with him, the next day, the scarf which "Georgiana", Ronaldo's unofficial wife, throws on his head in Saudi Arabia makes headlines, and a few days later, Al Hilal’s welcoming video of Neymar is being widely published. But the question is, what do the sheikhs want from football? "NourNews" will examine this matter in two-part report...

NOURNEWS- On the day of the great Cristiano Ronaldo’s announcement regarding his intention for leaving the "Island League" and join one of the club teams of the "Peninsula" in Saudi Arabia with an astronomical contract, the world media wrote that "football has sold its soul". But now and after the passage of a few months, sports observers believe that the Saudis were not looking for the "soul of football" or the legendary Ronaldo, but rather, they bought "Influence".

Today, football is not only the most popular entertainment in the world, but in the process of its transformation, with a gradual and layered penetration between different generations, it has become the "common language" of the working class of societies and countries that had no social or cultural ties with each other.

In the new era, football, in addition to being considered as a permanent part of a nation’s culture along with television, film and music, it is also defined as a communication capacity with other countries. For this reason, governments and capital owners have always benefited from football as a tool for advancing their non-sports goals, including economic, political and even security.

To put it more simply; Contrary to the general and basic belief, from the beginning, football was a shadow game that was played in the field of capitalists, and it never belonged to the people. But what made this truth obvious and rather more public is the emergence of new players in this field from West Asia, which has changed the traditional model of talent concentration in Britain, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Argentina.

Now the question is, can the newcomers of the capitalist football club change the model that has been ruling in the world football since the beginning of the 1990s and become the new pole of this popular sport?

The answer of the Europeans, especially the countries that were the main shareholders of football for nearly 3 decades to this question, is negative. These countries believe that the Saudis' investment can only create a golden period of retirement for the stars who have passed their prime and have sold not their skills on the field, but rather, they have sold their names for oil dollars.

Western countries are also accusing Saudi Arabia of its astronomical extravagances as an attempt for repairing the country's damaged image in the field of human rights after the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Saudis.

According to some European analysts: Saudi Arabia spends millions of dollars to erase the recent past of a country which is accused of killing a journalist living in America, and instead of a country that Some time ago, women didn't have the right to drive in that country, Saudis are trying to wear the mask of a sports-loving country.

Of course, Saudi Arabia rejects all of these base-less accusations and its government emphasizes that the purpose of its massive investments in the world of sports, is to free its country's economy from oil sales.

It was in 2021 and two years after the global conflicts over the murder of "Jamal Khashoggi" in the Saudi consulate in Turkey that the Saudis received news from the "Saudi Public Investment Fund" regarding an agreement for buying Newcastle United F.C. in exchange for 391 million dollars.

At the time, some whispers indicated that this fund, through an American stock company, also owns a percentage of the shares of the Chelsea F.C.

In continuation of its sports ambition, Saudi Arabia hosted the Formula One and World Boxing Championships and also held golf tournaments. At the same time, this country has spent millions of dollars on a company manufacturing Formula One racing cars and it has considered a similar figure for video games.

But the news bomb was the purchase of the Portuguese star of the Manchester United team for the "Al-Nasr" club with a legendary figure of 380 euros per minute. This transfer was done after Saudi Arabia handed over the ownership of four clubs "Al-Ittihad", "Al-Ahly", "Al-Nasr" and "Al-Hilal" to one of the largest national wealth funds in the world named the "Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund".

It was from this fund that Ronaldo was bought for Al-Nasr, Karim Benzema for Al-Ittihad and Neymar for Al-Hilal. Even the legendary Argentinian star "Lionel Messi" was not left alone from benefits of this oil wealth and in exchange for receiving 25 million dollars on social networks, he advertises a trip to Saudi Arabia as a luxurious country. Recently, "Mohammed Salah" has been unveiled as one of the football stars that the Saudis intend to buy.

According to statistics, Saudi Arabia spent 6 billion dollars on these sport-oriented expenditures, and this number is 4 times the figures spent in the last 6 years.

According to Saudi Arabia government, the investments are in line with its desired vision for 2030, and it tries to increase foreign investment and employment through this route to diversify its economy, also Saudis are trying to bring change and fitness for the people of its country who are mostly suffering from obesity, a claim that many, including Europeans, look at it with doubt and predict that despite all the investments, Saudi Arabia will eventually become a "football buyer" country but will not accomplish anything else.

Some also say that "football doping" may be a shortcut for the Saudis to improve their image and become a powerful player in foreign policy by strengthening their international image.

The first days of the purchase of football stars by the Saudis made a lot of noise, all the efforts of analysts were focused on finding an answer to the question, "Saudi Arabia will take football to where exactly?"

Now, after the passage of few months since the implementation of Saudi Arabia's controversial policy to take advantage of football's political potential, the more fundamental question is, "Which direction will football take Saudi Arabia?"

This article will continue…


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