Saudi Arabia has spent at least $1.5bn on ‘sportswashing’, report reveals

Saudi Arabia has spent at least $1.5bn on high-profile international sporting events in a bid to bolster its reputation, a new report reveals.

The oil-rich nation has invested millions across the sporting world, the report by the human rights organisation Grant Liberty says, from chess championships to golf, tennis and $60m alone on the Saudi Cup, the world’s richest horse-racing event with prize money of $20m.

The report, published next week, also details the Kingdom’s $650m ten-year deal with Formula One, whose world championships begin this Sunday and for the first time will include a race in the port city of Jeddah.

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