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Saudi Sports Minister Defends His Country’s 2034 FIFA World Cup Bid

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Saudi Arabia’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal defended his country’s decision to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup as he gave an interview to British media, BBC, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Prince Abdulaziz said, “Twenty millions of our population (total population is approximately 36 million) are below the age of 30, so we need to get them engaged – we are playing our role to develop sports within the world and to be part of the international community”.

He declared the accusations of the media as “very shallow” as his narrative was that sports are being promoted in his country so that the younger audience has something to look up to while growing up.

Saudi Arabia has invested over £5 Billion in sports since 2021. They have hosted sporting events of Formula 1, Boxing, WWE and developed their football league, Saudi Pro League (SPL) which has attracted Europe’s biggest footballing names such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kanté, etc.

Prince Abdulaziz explained, “We’ve showcased that – we’ve hosted more than 85 global events and we’ve delivered on the highest level. We want to attract the world through sports. Hopefully, by 2034, people will have an extraordinary World Cup.”

The Minister said that his country would be a suitable host for the 2034 World Cup, as critics say that the Arab country uses ‘Sports-washing’ to lower the narrative of human rights abuses.

Some segments of the media allege that the Saudi Arabia authorities use sports to undermine the human rights abuses that they do within their country. Media alleges that sports is the perfect blanket for the human rights abuses to be covered with.

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