The Sports World Wrestles With the Khashoggi Scandal

MIN READNov 6, 2019 | 18:30 GMT

John Cena (L) competes with Triple H during the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Greatest Royal Rumble event in Jeddah on April 27. Saudi Arabia is attracting increasing number of sporting and entertainment events, such as the WWE.

(STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

By most standards, Saudi Arabia tends to punch above its weight in geopolitical matters. However, the same cannot be said about sports in the kingdom. Whether considering the performance of its national and Olympic teams, the number of major sports events hosted by the country or the development of professional leagues, the Saudis are G-20 bottom-feeders, arguably superior only to Indonesia in this regard. Yes, they have a decent professional soccer league compared to the region (money helps). They also hosted the first three iterations of what is now called the Confederations Cup, FIFA's marginally prestigious World Cup warm-up tournament, and have qualified five times for the World Cup proper. Some members of the royal family have also held symbolic leadership posts in FIFA and the International Olympic Committee's sport governance apparatus (again, money helps). This began to change two years ago as it began making moves to develop a...

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