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The True Cost Of Sport Exposed

Lewis Hamilton Formula One F1

The True Cost Of Sport Exposed

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and China are being called out for human rights violations, despite hosting some of the most prestige sporting events in the world.

The revelations have highlighted an important question, should sporting events be held at the cost of human rights?

Qatar is going to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, China will host the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Saudi Arabia hosts some of the largest motorsport and football events.

Yet each of these nations have been called out in recent months for violating human rights.

Amnesty International UK’s CEO, Sacha Deshmukh, said the violations, particularly in Saudi Arabia, are being covered up by sporting events.

“It represented a clear attempt by the Saudi authorities to ‘sportswash’ their appalling human rights record with the glamour of top-flight football,” Deshmukh said.

The Humans Rights Watch Middle East director, Michael Page, said unless these countries are called out and are boycotted by sporting organisations, human rights violations will not stop.

“The Saudi government is going all out to bury its egregious human rights abuses beneath public spectacles and sporting events,” Page said.

“Unless they express concerns over Saudi Arabia’s serious abuses, Formula One and participating performers risk bolstering the Saudi government’s well-funded efforts to whitewash its image despite a significant increase in repression over the last few years,” he said.

Chinese officials have recently been accused of suppressing tennis star, Peng Shuai’s demands for justice after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a Chinese official.

In light of this event, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has suspended all events in China and Hong Kong.

For more on the issue see Ministry of Sport’s article.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia have also issued the death penalty and persecution of anyone who has or is in same sex relationships.

The Human Rights Watch made a statement on the matters recently, specifically on the Formula One events that are hosted in Saudi Arabia, saying: “Formula One is in a unique position to either enable or endorse this human rights image-washing or it can press the Saudi Arabian government on its human rights record.”

These are just some of the more recent human rights violations to come out of hosting nations.

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