The reported effort by the state-run Saudi Public Investment Fund to buy the Newcastle United football club has prompted an opposition campaign by human rights organizations.
A general view outside St James’ Park on March 14, 2020, as the Premier League is suspended due to the number of coronavirus cases growing around the world | REUTERS/Scott Heppell.
By Neil Curry
(April 29) – It’s been more than six weeks since a soccer ball was last kicked in the English Premier League (EPL). Liverpool FC and its star Egyptian striker and folk hero Mo Salah had been within a whisker of securing the championship title when the gates to stadiums were locked following the novel coronavirus outbreak. With the terraces empty, and millions of football fans around the world lamenting the loss of their beloved game, passions have been redirected to competition off the pitch. Continue reading
Currently, a battle is going on between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, one that is affecting international football as well. There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia wants to take the World Cup away from Qatar in 2022. The “Foundation for Sports Integrity” was launched in a lavish setting in London in May with buzz words about “transparency” and “corruption” that made several participants ask about the source of the money. Two of them were Andreas Selliaas and Jan Jensen*, who have tried to track the secret backers of the new initiative. Jim Waterson of the Guardian also weighs in with additional facts. Interestingly, with regard to awarding the FIFA World Cup 2026, which was announced later in Moscow in July, Saudi Arabia backed the winning, so-called “United” bid of the United States, Canada and Mexico, while Qatar backed the Morocco bid.
Panel discussion at the FFSI conference | Andreas Selliaas
(London, Updated 28 June) – The Foundation for Sports Integrity (FFSI) was launched at the fashionable Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square in London on 31 May. The founder of the FFSI is Jaimie Fuller, the Chairman of SKINS, one of the persons behind the initiative New FIFA Now and a familiar face to those attending Play the Game conferences.
- Soccer action meets the media’s alternative reality during Russia’s World Cup finals. Since the alleged poisoning of ex-MI6 agent Sergei Skripal in Britain, a Russophobic media has gone into overdrive. Nowhere is the desperation with which this has been seized more obvious than Britain, which lost the vote to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup to Russia eight years ago, and the London Guardian. DAVID EDWARDS* digs into the incoherent coverage by Britain’s “serious” newspapers of the 2018 World Cup in contrast with the London 2012 Olympics, hailed at the time as a “masterpiece.”
MediaLens (June 21) – Senior Guardian sports writer Barney Ronay indicated the basic tone of early corporate coverage of the Russia 2018 World Cup: Continue reading