國際時事跟讀 Ep.K658: Saudi Arabia's Ambitious Soccer Revolution
Saudi Arabia is making headlines in the world of soccer with its ambitious efforts to reshape the global soccer landscape. The country's actions have raised eyebrows and sparked debate about its motivations. While many criticize it as "sportswashing," Saudi Arabia's significant investments in soccer have far-reaching implications that go beyond the sport itself.
One of the most eye-catching moves was when Al-Hilal, a Saudi Arabian club, reportedly attempted a $1.1 billion bid to sign French soccer sensation Kylian Mbappé. Despite Mbappé rejecting the offer, other high-profile transfers, such as Neymar Jr. joining Al-Hilal, have demonstrated Saudi Arabia's determination to transform its domestic soccer league into a star-studded competition. In a record-breaking transfer window, Saudi Pro League (SPL) clubs spent nearly $1 billion to acquire 94 overseas players from top European leagues, signaling their seriousness.
最引人注目的行動是沙烏地新月足球俱樂部（Al-Hilal）據報試圖以高達11億美元的價格簽下法國足球巨星基利安·姆巴佩（Kylian Mbappé）。儘管姆巴佩拒絕了這一報價，但其他高知名度的轉會，例如內馬爾（Neymar Jr.）的加盟，表明了沙烏地阿拉伯改造其國內足球聯賽成為星光熠熠競爭的決心。在一個創紀錄的轉會窗口中，沙烏地職業足球聯賽（SPL）俱樂部花費近10億美元，從歐洲頂級聯賽獲得了94名海外球員，顯明了他們的認真程度。
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has openly acknowledged the term "sportswashing" but remains undeterred, emphasizing the economic benefits of sports investment. Saudi clubs, including those owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), have attracted some of the biggest names in soccer. This strategy is aimed at enhancing competitiveness and developing local talent while bolstering the country's global standing in the sport.
Saudi Arabia's soccer revolution serves multiple purposes. It appeals to the country's young population, offering them a thriving soccer industry and diverting potential social unrest. Additionally, the nation's aspirations to host major sporting events like the FIFA Club World Cup and the AFC Asian Cup showcase its commitment to becoming a sporting hub. However, these efforts also raise concerns about transparency, human rights, and the potential influence of Saudi wealth in the global sports landscape.
Saudi Arabia's foray into soccer is a complex story, blending economic aspirations with political considerations. While it seeks to elevate its soccer prowess, the world watches closely, both excited by the potential and wary of the implications for the future of the sport.
Reference article: https://edition.cnn.com/2023/09/20/sport/saudi-arabia-soccer-spl-bin-salman-intl-spt-cmd-dg/index.html