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Spanish FA agree deal to host SuperCopa in Saudi Arabia for 3 years

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

04:05 11 Nov 2019

The Spanish Football Federation have announced a deal that will see the Spanish Super Cup held in Saudi Arabia for three years. 

The decision flies in the face of a memo from UEFA President Alexander Ceferin asking governing bodies not to hold domestic competitions in Saudi Arabia.

The first edition will be played on 8-12 of January in Jeddah.

It's reported that the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) will pocket €40m for each of the three seasons the Super Copa is staged in the gulf state.

AS say that Barcelona defender Gerard Pique acted as an intermediary for the deal through his Kosmos sports events company.

The announcement is due to be met with some controversy given Saudi Arabia's appalling human rights record.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at his own country's consulate in Istanbul in October of 2018.

Saudi Arabia also routinely jails activists, has questionable treatment of women, is a country where homosexuality is illegal, and has engaged in mass executions.

The states deals with everyone from WWE to UFC have been seen as an exercise in 'sportswashing', ie an effort to improve a country's reputation via the staging of high-profile sporting events.

The RFEF say their agreement with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation will allow women into the stadium in Jeddah with no restrictions on the clothes they wear or seats the occupy.

It's also claimed that the deal will see the launch of a new women's soccer competition in the state.

Such moves to welcome women to the sport may go some way to appease UEFA President Ceferin who told reporters in September, "We know that two countries in the world [Saudi Arabia and Iran] do not allow women and girls to watch [men’s] football.

“We can not punish anyone … but that does not mean we have to be quiet.

"So our advice to 55 federations and all clubs will be to ensure that their teams do not play in these countries or against teams from these countries where the basic rights of women are not respected."

The RFEF say the new competition will be played in winter to lighten the schedule of competing clubs, and will be played on a 'final four' basis.

The 2020 competing teams will be Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Valencia.

Their statement also says the deal will help improve a mooted joint-bid for the 2030 World Cup from Spain and Portugal.

Grass-roots football, women's football and futsal are all set to benefit from that €40m-a-year of Saudi money the RFEF claim.

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Atletico Madrid Barcelona RFEF Real Madrid Saudi Arabia Spanish Football Federation Spanish Super Cup Sportswashing Super Copa Ufc Valencia WWE

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