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What is sportswashing? The controversy around soccer and sports, explained

Saudi Arabian soccer team al-Hilal has offered to buy star French soccer player Kilian Mbappe for more than $330 million. The team would pay him almost $15 million a week should he join.

It’s just the latest example of what sports industry experts call ‘sportswashing’; others being the PGA-LIV Gold merger, last year’s Soccer World Cup in Qatar and a Qatari investment funds purchase of shares in three Washington D.C. sports franchises.

There has been fierce criticism of the Gulf State nations behind these investments. Human rights violations, sexism and anti-LGBTQ sentiment are among the biggest concerns.

Here & Now‘s Scott Tong speaks to James Dorsey, journalist and author of “The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.