Spanish Super Cup: Saudi Arabia’s rancid gold
Two years after a first edition in Jeddah, the Supercopa returns to Saudi Arabia, this time to Riyadh. The Spanish federation sent FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético and Athletic 4000 kilometers from home, convinced by strong arguments. A new opportunity for the Gulf monarchy to show itself in a favorable light, by pushing under the carpet the subjects which disturb it.
Just thinking about it, the Saudi regime is rubbing its hands. Much of the footballing world will be eyeing the King Fahd International Stadium on Wednesday. The venue had previously hosted a concert by South Korean group BTS and a WWE show, for which boxer Tyson Fury joined American wrestling superstars. In a few hours, it will be the scene of one of the biggest posters in international football, a Clásico Barça-Real. A nice publicity stunt for the Saudi monarchy, which certainly hopes at the same time to make people forget the embarrassment caused by the explosion that occurred on December 30 on the sidelines of the Dakar Rally.
Avoid going off the road
Precisely, the explosion of a vehicle, which seriously injured the French driver Philippe Boutron two days before the start of the race, caused confusion. Present in the car at the time of the incident, Thierry Richard, Joël Pally and Mayeul Barbet all spoke of an attack. Unlike the Saudi authorities, who strangely support the trail of an accident. The national anti-terrorism prosecution has opened an investigation into
« assassination attempt in connection with a terrorist enterprise »
. According to RMC Sport, the General Directorate of Internal Security has not received any of the elements of the file, however, and it is not for lack of having requested it.
« Saudi Arabia has an interest in playing the game of transparency, otherwise it could aggravate this climate of suspicion
, explains Fatiha Dazi-Héni, specialist in the monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula at the Strategic Research Institute of the Military School (IRSEM).
The Saudis refuse for the moment to regard this as an attack. They want to avoid talking about it because it bothers them considerably. Since 2015, there have been very few attacks, or it has been hushed up. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to diversify the country’s economy and get rid of the kingdom’s ultra-conservative bad reputation. An attack
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