Finding the Rough on the Gulf Course: Sportswashing with LIV Golf and the Saudi PIF


The golfing world was upturned at the start of June, with the news that a deal had been struck between the PGA and the Saudi-funded LIV Golf. 

After months of warring words and a flurry of lawsuits the two sides agreed to come together and put hostiles aside. 

The deal will see a return of some of the biggest names in golf and also see a huge investment into the game by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

Like the initial creation of LIV Golf, this investment has created controversy and prompted claims of sportswashing. 

The PGA has been accused of ignoring the appalling human rights abuses of the Saudi regime and whitewashing the reputation of the like of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

This week on The New Arab Voice, we look at the recent deal between the PGA and LIV Golf, the implications for human rights and sportswashing, the Saudi Public Investment Fund, and what the Gulf nation hopes to achieve with such spending. 

To talk about Saudi Arabia and human rights, we’re joined by Joey Shea (@joey_shea), a Human Rights Watch (@hrw) researcher in the Middle East and North Africa Division investigating human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

And to explain all about the Saudi PIF and what they hope to achieve, we speak with Imad K. Harb (@harb3imad), the Director of Research and Analysis at Arab Center Washington DC (@ArabCenterWDC)

This podcast is written and produced by Hugo Goodridge. 

Theme music by Omar al-Fil. 

Other music by Blue Dot Sessions. 

To get in touch with the producers, follow then tweet us at @TheNewArabVoice.

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