Held Formula One (F1) competitions. 2019 boxing heavyweight world title match held. 2021 Premier League takeover of Newcastle United. Establishment of LIV Golf Championship in 2022. Potential to host Asian Cup in 2027. Challenge to bid for the 2030 World Cup. Signed a PR ambassador contract with Lionel Messi. Cristiano Ronaldo signed with world’s highest salary.
This is the recent step Saudi Arabia has taken in international sports. These are actions to prove that Saudi Arabia is the best in international sports and at the same time reduce the weight of the United States and Europe. Daniel Reitze, an associate professor at Georgetown University in Qatar, recently told CNN, “Saudi Arabia has recognized that it cannot rely solely on hard power to become a powerful country internationally. Saudi Arabia knows,” he said.
Saudi football team Al Nasr recently signed Ronaldo. The annual salary is 75 million dollars (approximately 95.1 billion won), and the contract period is 2 years. After signing Ronaldo, the club’s Instagram followers increased by more than 5.3 million. Due to the heavy traffic, access to the website was impossible. Al Nasr is run by Qidiya Investments Corporation (QIC), a subsidiary of Public Investment Fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund that has played a pivotal role in Saudi Arabia’s diversification plan. CNN interpreted, “Saudi Arabia’s bringing in Ronaldo is a commitment to realizing its sporting ambitions as a Gulf monarchy at any cost” and “an effort to become a serious player in international sports.”
Saudi Arabia is sending love calls to the international community. Crown Prince bin Salman is visiting various parts of the world and asking for participation in the NEOM project. Neom is a fictional city named after Neo, which means new in Greek, and Mustaqbal, which means future in Arabic. The main goal is to build ‘The Line’, a future city where 9 million people can be self-sufficient in eco-friendly energy, a cutting-edge industrial complex ‘Oksagon’, and an eco-friendly tourism complex ‘Trogena’ on the coast of the Northwest Red Sea. The idea of building a glass wall 500m high, 200m wide and 170km long is close to a fantasy, but the general consensus is that Saudi Arabia is trying to attract global capital and talent by building a cutting-edge city. 토토
Saudi Arabia holds 25% of the world’s oil. It became a rich country thanks to oil, but talent development and industrial diversification were slow because of oil money. The core of the ‘Saudi Vision 2030’ announced in 2016 is to prepare the foundation for becoming a rich country without oil when there is oil. Saudi Arabia requires the participation of domestic manpower along with attracting foreign capital and recruiting foreign talent. It means that it will develop the capabilities of its own people with foreign capital and human resources. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is also implementing policies to nurture young talent and encourage female social activities. Simon Chadwick, professor of sports and geopolitical economics at the SKEMA business school in Lille, France, interpreted it as “an attempt to create a resilient economy based broadly in other industries not derived from the main sources of income, oil and gas.”
There is also a point of view that does not take a good look at Saudi Arabia’s move. This is because Saudi Arabia intended to wash away the negative image it created in the international community when it killed a Washington Post columnist in 2018 and started a war in Yemen in 2015. Of course, this also makes sense, but at the same time, there are also opinions that we should consider the signal of Saudi Arabia’s willingness to open.
Saudi Arabia gained confidence from the World Cup in Qatar. Morocco, an African and Middle Eastern country, entered the semifinals for the first time. Qatar also performed well in the World Cup amid criticism. Saudi Arabia also caused a surprise by defeating Argentina. “Recruiting global talent helps overcome the monarchy’s reputation for being ‘secret and very conservative,'” said James Dorsey, an international studies researcher in Singapore. Professor Chadwick said, “Saudi Arabia’s signing of Ronaldo shows that Saudi Arabia wants to be recognized as a top competitor and a legitimate member of the international football world. ” he said.