'Don't Care': Saudi Prince On Sportswashing Accusations Amid Next Gen ATP Finals Move

'Don't Care': Saudi Prince On Sportswashing Accusations Amid Next Gen ATP Finals Move

by Nurein Ahmed

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman gave a response to accusations of sportswashing against his country, saying he 'doesn't care'.

The de facto leader, known by the acronym MBS, has overseen the colossal spending on sports since he rose to power six years ago, through the country's sovereign wealth fund - the PIF (Public Investment Fund) which has total estimated assets of over $700 billion.

This is a strategic investment in line with Vision 2030 - an ambitious plan that is expected to transform the Gulf kingdom from its dependence on fossil fuels. So far, it has forged ties with high-profile football players to play in their domestic league.

Besides owning an 80% stake in Newcastle United - an English-based football club, its investment extends beyond football to encompass the successful takeover of golf, hosting high-profile sporting spectacles such as Formula 1 and Wrestling. And of late, it has tested tennis hands.

They brokered a five-year deal to host the Next Gen ATP Finals. The general consensus is that this is only the beginning with the ATP & WTA bosses reportedly expected to meet for formal talks to discuss a merger, which is meant to create a cohesive product to sell off to the Saudis, according to ATP player Milos Raonic.

Prince Mohammed spoke to Fox News in a first-ever all-English interview and reasoned from an economic standpoint regarding Saudi Arabia's overzealous investment which has attracted heavy criticism from rights groups who accused the oil powerhouse's investment as a way to improve its reputation on the global stage.

"If sportswashing is going to increase my GDP by 1%, then we'll continue doing sportswashing. I don't care (about the term). I have 1% growth in GDP from sport and I am aiming for another 1.5%. Call it what you want - we are going to get that 1.5%."


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