NNot everything in sport is a matter of money, not even in the Middle East. In boxing, however. That the rematch for three world heavyweight titles between the British Anthony Joshua and the Californian Andy Ruiz jr. On December 7, on the outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, is a matter of money. Respectively the financier. "Clash on the Dunes" stands on the posters to fight, and over the heads of the boxers, among other things, the logo of the General Sports Authority is to see the sports government authority of the Kingdom.
This is highly spendable when it comes to buying sensational sporting events. Human rights violations? The dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year by Saudi agents, for example? Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is not interested now either. In Riyadh recently great concerts of Western stars have taken place, he told the Associated Press.
Zaire's dictator Mobutu also led a three-day music festival in 1974 for "Rumble in the Jungle," for which Muhammad Ali and George Foreman came to Kinshasa. Promised by Don King, by the way, so obviously Hearn can learn a bit about coldness. Hearn has promised something else: Every buyer of a ticket automatically gets an entry visa to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. All – unless they come from Israel. Israelis do not get a visa for Saudi Arabia, but the political rapprochement of recent years does not change that.
That's just the sport. The so-called Constitution of the World Boxing Organization, whose titles are being fought in Riad among others, calls for using their sport to "shape balanced personalities, both physically and morally, who are better able to serve our society help and improve them ". But as a sports promoter, he can not really change the Israeli travel ban, Hearn is quoted as saying. Hands tied, pockets filled. But as I said: not everything is a question of money, at least not a priority.
Not even in football. On Monday evening, Zob Ahan Isfahan, the last Iranian club from the Asian Football Champions League adopted. As a result, AFC has succeeded in hosting another season in the most important club competition in the world's most populous continent, without changing any of Iran's ban on women's football. Discrimination based on sex is punishable by suspension or exclusion, according to the statutes of the AFC. But there will be a reason why Asia's officials are still tied hands.