The lucrative offers enticing prominent boxers, golfers and footballers to compete in Saudi Arabia aren’t enough for Andy Murray to put money on morality.
When Murray was approached to move to Riyadh to play in exhibition matches, the prospect of earning millions of dollars was ruled out.
The revelation on Friday came from the agent of the thrice-a-week Grand Slam winner after the Spanish football federation faced criticism from human rights activists. To take your Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.
Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and Athletic Bilbao say where the mini-contest is being played. But for Murray, the offers were for exhibition matches beyond the ATP Tour.
“He has turned down stuff in Saudi and I don’t think he’ll play there because of what happened,” said Matt Gentry, Murray’s agent and co-founder of 77 Sports Management.
“If he feels strongly about anything, he’s at a level where he’ll happily call it quits and he’ll have arguments with people. I don’t think he’s afraid to voice his opinion on it.”
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were supposed to attend an exhibition event in Saudi Arabia in 2018, but it was canceled due to the Spaniard’s injury. Roger Federer had already declined the offer to participate.
Saudi Arabia is bringing major sporting events to the kingdom not only for prestige But to divert attention from the ongoing efforts for human rights violations and full equal rights for women.
“Exhibition matches, something they’ve done over the years, where they paid players money to come, and they weren’t interested,” said Gentry from Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open.
“If you’re the former world No. 1 player in the Middle East you could potentially make $1 million, $2 million for an exhibition match … that’s for the top players, the big global names, and I think that golf is probably very similar in that respect.”
In men’s golf, the Asian Tour will stage the Saudi International near Jeddah next month, with prize money of $5 million. The title sponsor is the state’s sovereign wealth fund, PIF, which is overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Planes owned by a PIF company are said to have been used by an alleged Saudi assassination squad that flew to Istanbul in 2018 to assassinate US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate. US intelligence services said they believed the killing took place on the orders of the Crown Prince, which the Saudis denies.
This week, Bryson DeChambeau and Shane Lowry faced questions from the media about moving to Saudi Arabia and dismissed concerns they were part of sportswashing. By the country saying that he was not a politician.
Former Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said last month he had concerns about racing in Saudi Arabia and did so only because it was a decision taken by leaders in motorsport.
Boxers like Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr had the option of fighting in Saudi Arabia and did so in 2019 despite criticism from Amnesty International.
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