Aramco becomes a partner: FIFA and Saudi Arabia – even closer proximity through sponsorship

Aramco becomes a partner: FIFA and Saudi Arabia – even closer proximity through sponsorship

As of: April 25, 2024 5:38 p.m

The Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco will sponsor FIFA – which recently awarded the 2034 World Cup de facto to Saudi Arabia.

FIFA and Aramco confirmed the cooperation, which, according to the world football association, will initially run until 2027. FIFA did not provide any information about the amount of payments from Aramco. The collaboration includes the Men’s World Cup in 2026 and the Women’s World Cup in 2027.

The DFB is currently applying for the 2027 World Cup together with the Netherlands and Belgium. With a market value of more than two trillion euros, Aramco was the most valuable company in the world in 2022.

At the end of the year, a formal decision was made about Saudi Arabia hosting the World Cup

At the end of 2024, a few months after the sponsorship was announced, the FIFA Congress is expected to formally decide on the award of the 2034 World Cup – Saudi Arabia is the only applicant.

“With this partnership, FIFA can successfully run its most important tournaments over the next four years and even better support its 211 member associations around the world,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino is quoted as saying.

World Cup 2034 – FIFA put Saudi Arabia in pole position

At the beginning of October, the FIFA Council, in which DFB President Bernd Neuendorf is one of 37 members, effectively awarded the 2030 and 2034 World Cups at a meeting. Formally, decisions by the FIFA Congress still have to be made, but de facto the organizing countries have been determined. The 2030 World Cup will take place in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.

At the 2034 World Cup, the approach to the 2030 World Cup prevented any competition for Saudi Arabia, which can look forward to winning the contract as the sole bidder. The award is considered certain, and support for Saudi Arabia among the 210 other FIFA members is high.

DFB President Neuendorf: “We will examine the application on the subject of human rights”

DFB President Bernd Neuendorf, who will also vote on the 2034 World Cup at the end of the year, said this in response to a request from Sportschau at the end of November. “We will examine the application documents with regard to the issue of human rights, among other things.”

FIFA writes in its bidding rules for the 2034 World Cup that participating governments are required to “commit to respecting, protecting and upholding human rights in connection with the hosting of the tournament.” This also applies to the issue of labor rights. The treatment of guest workers was criticized when hosting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The general human rights situation in a host country – such as Saudi Arabia – is not a criterion for the award.

The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is catastrophic

The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is catastrophic. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman rules in an absolute monarchy. In Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom ranking, Saudi Arabia ranks 170th out of 180, behind Azerbaijan or Russia and very far behind Qatar.

There is no freedom of expression or assembly. According to human rights organizations, unfair trials lead to death sentences – even against people who were minors when the alleged crime was committed. Women have severely limited rights and homosexual acts are punishable.

The anti-government Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and cut into pieces by a hit squad in Istanbul in 2018. A United Nations investigation and US intelligence reports indicate that Crown Prince bin Salman ordered the murder.

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