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Saudi Arabia to sponsor 2023 Women’s World Cup

Visit Saudi is set to be an official sponsor of the Australia-New Zealand 2023 Women’s World Cup with the move raising many questions.

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Despite the bid yet to be made official, rumours are rife that Saudi Arabia is set to make a joint bid to co-host the 2030 World Cup, together with Egypt and Greece with the Saudi’s set to foot the bill. Lionel Messi has already been signed up as an ambassador for the Saudi tourist board and the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo at Riyadh based Al-Nassr has increased global interest in the Saudi Pro League.

The Gulf Kingdom are set to increase visibility and notoriety with Visit Saudi set to become an official sponsor of the Women’s World Cup in Australia-New Zealand 2023 as reported by David Ornstein (The Athletic).

The decision has already seen FIFA come under fire. During the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, United States rights holders FOX Sports refused to show any pro-Qatar commercials as a form of protest for the nation’s treatment of migrant workers .

Amnesty International has constantly labeled Saudi Arabia with an ‘appalling’ record of basic human rights rights and women have only been allowed attend soccer matches as of 2018 with the Saudi Arabian Women’s Soccer League officially starting in 2020.

Speaking to SportsPro, Amnesty International UK’s head of priority campaigns, Felix Jakens stated: “Saudi Arabia’s deep pockets mean that sponsorship partnerships like this are probably going to become more common, but without human rights reforms to match the sport and entertainment packages Saudi Arabia will rightly be accused of pursuing a cynical sportswashing agenda.

“Fifa should speak out about the need for human rights reform in Saudi Arabia and not merely allow its premier women’s tournament to be used for sportswashing, while players, coaches and fans should likewise challenge this crude exploitation of their sport by Saudi Arabia.”

Other new sponsors for WC23

In addition to Visit Saudi, brands such as VISA and the Commonwealth Band of Australia have signed up as official sponsors ahead of the World Cup which will be held between 20 July 20 and 20 August.