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World Cup: Forcing Saudi Arabia to sell beer if it wins 2030 bid ‘would be Islamophobic,’ says minister | World News


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Saudi Arabia’s sports minister told Sky News it would be Islamophobic for FIFA to force him to sell alcohol if a World Cup is held in the country.

An ambitious bid for the 2030 tournament is being explored by the saudis – in conjunction with Greece Y Egypt – and have not been deterred by the Strong human rights scrutiny faced by current hosts Qatar.

Although alcohol is in some bars in Doha, Qatar dropped guarantees that it could be sold in World Cup stadiums. just before the start of the tournament last week.

Saudi Arabia is completely dry, which he believes should not be a barrier to hosting a World Cup.

Asked if it would be Islamophobic to impose alcohol requirements at a tournament, Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal told Sky News: “Yes, because the World Cup is for everyone.”

He added: “If you’re against that, and you don’t feel like you’re going to enjoy your time coming, and you can’t respect that rule, then don’t come. It’s as simple as that.”

While they said the Saudis are “working for a better future” after facing human rights criticism, no specific reforms were offered.

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Saudi Arabia has changed a lot

The assassination by Saudi officials of the journalist jamal khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in 2018 contributed to human rights groups opposing the purchase of Newcastle United by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund is headed by the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to US intelligence findings, he approved of Khashoggi’s assassination, but continues to deny his involvement.

The remains of the Washington Post columnist have never been found, raising questions about Saudi Arabia’s suitability for a leading role in the sport.

“Everyone was horrified by what happened and everyone condemned it in the kingdom,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

“What the government did in Saudi Arabia, they took steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

He added: “We know that Saudi Arabia for a couple of years has also changed a lot.

“We know we are shifting into the future.”

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“LGBT fans are welcome, but we have rules”

A World Cup bid could see Saudi Arabia violating FIFA’s requirements not to discriminate against gay people, changes introduced in the wake of the 2030 World Cup by going to Qatar despite its anti-LGBT laws.

“They are welcome,” Prince Abdulaziz said during the interview in Doha.

“I’m sure they’ve come to some of our events. We don’t go around asking, ‘Are you gay or straight?’ Everyone is welcome. There are rules that everyone abides by.”

What are the rules?

He replied, “There are rules that everyone follows about our culture and how they have to comply with the culture that we have.

“So even men and women, they can’t show affection in public places, etc. And that’s a regulation that we have to respect. And we have to respect the culture.”

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Will women ever have the same rights?

Women have gained more rights in Saudi Arabia in recent years, and a women’s national team started this year. However, women still face discrimination, including needing the approval of a male guardian to marry.

Can women ever expect equal rights with men in Saudi Arabia?

“It depends on what you mean by equal rights,” Prince Abdulaziz replied. “If this is a social problem that needs to be resolved, it will be resolved within Saudi Arabia.”

Equal rights is having the same rights, it is pointed out.

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He replied: “Do women have the same rights in the West? In terms of their work, salaries, etc.”

There is legislation in countries to ensure that they should have.

“Maybe in some countries, in some different countries,” he continued. “This is a problem for the people of the country. I don’t think you will accept it if I come and tell you that you have to do 123, or else we won’t take care of you.”

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Saudis are “ready” to host any tournament

There was no confirmation of a 2030 World Cup bid, with talks previously confirmed by potential partners Egypt and Greece.

The use of three countries on three different continents should not be a barrier, Prince Abdulaziz insisted, especially when considering the hosts of the 2026 World Cup.

He said: “The next World Cup will be in Canada, the United States and Mexico and I think the journey between them is actually longer than the journey between Saudi Arabia, Greece and Egypt.

“But I think we’ve learned a lot from hosting a lot of events in the past… and I think Saudi Arabia will be ready to host any international or big competition or championship in the future.”


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