In a February 2, 2024 Letter to the Editor of the Washington Post responding the January 27 Sports article “D.C. United opens camp in Saudi Arabia with eye on signing defender Peltola,” Senior Countering Authoritarianism Director Abdullah Alaoudh wrote:

“To see a team from our nation’s capital succumb to another blatant attempt at sportswashing by Saudi Arabia is extremely disappointing.

In an effort to mask its long track record of human rights abuses, Saudi Arabia has sought to improve its international reputation by pouring billions of dollars into bolstering sports endeavors, including purchasing teams, sponsoring events and partnering with globally recognized athletes. Last year, the Saudi soccer league contracted Cristiano Ronaldo for a whopping $75 million-per-year deal with the potential to earn $207 million annually; the kingdom’s public investment fund is on the brink of conquering the PGA tour; and Saudi Arabia won its bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup.”

Read the full Letter to the Editor in the Washington Post.


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