Photo by Jack Monach on Unsplash

Forget about Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist brutally murdered in a Saudi consulate, and all his colleagues jailed, censored or harassed in Saudi Arabia. Don’t think about women’s and LGBTQ rights in the kingdom, and ignore the mass killings of migrants along the Saudi border with Yemen. Look, Saudi Arabia is hosting the Super Cup, Inter Milan, Real Madrid! It’s the country of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, not repression and rampant human rights abuses,

This is how «sportswashing» operates: improving a government’s reputation by hosting major sporting events that garner positive media attention, while diverting it from the host’s abuses. Saudi Arabia has been engaging in this practice for years and plans to keep doing so.

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