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


Saudi Arabia’s sports minister has told Sky News that FIFA will be forced to sell alcohol if the World Cup is held in the country.

An ambitious bid for the 2030 tournament is being explored by Saudi Arabic – with Greek and Egypt – and they weren’t stopped by the close human rights scrutiny that current host country Qatar faces.

Although alcohol is available in some bars throughout Doha, make sure it can be sold at the World Cup stadiums that have been effectively removed by Qatar right before the tournament started last week.

Saudi Arabia is completely dry, which they believe should not be a barrier to hosting the World Cup.

Asked if imposing alcohol requirements during a tournament would be discriminatory against Muslims, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s Sports Minister, said to 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 the time coming, and you can’t respect that rule, then don’t come. It’s as simple as that.”

While it said the Saudis were “working towards a better future” after facing criticism over human rights, no concrete reforms were offered.

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‘Saudi Arabia has changed a lot’

Saudi official kills journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in 2018 contributed to rights groups opposed to the purchase of Newcastle United by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to the results of the US intelligence investigation, he approved the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, but he continues to deny involvement.

The Washington Post journalist’s remains have never been found – leading to constant questions about Saudi Arabia’s suitability to have a leading role in sports.

“Everybody is horrified by what has happened and everyone condemns it in the kingdom,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

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

He added: “We know that Saudi Arabia from a few years ago has also changed a lot.

“We know that we are changing towards the future.”

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‘LGBT fans are welcome – but we have rules’

A World Cup bid could see Saudi Arabia breach FIFA’s requirements for non-discrimination against gay people – changes introduced in the aftermath from the 2030 World Cup would took place in Qatar despite its anti-LGBT laws.

“They are welcome,” Prince Abdulaziz said in an 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 has to respect.”

What are the rules?

He replied, “There are rules that people respect about our culture and how they have to conform to the culture we have.

“So both men and women – they can’t show affection in public, etc. And that’s the rule that we have that we need to respect. And we have to respect the culture.”

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Will women ever have equal rights?

Women have gained more rights in Saudi Arabia in recent years – and a women’s national team kicked off this year. But women still face discrimination, including having to get the consent of a male guardian to marry.

Can women hope to have 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 solved, it will be solved in Saudi Arabia.”

It turns out that equal rights are having the same rights.

He replied, “Do women have equal rights in the West? About jobs, wages, etc.”

There are laws in the countries to make sure they should be.

“Maybe in some countries, in some other countries,” he continued. “This is a domestic matter, I come to tell you, you must do 123, otherwise we will not deal with you.”

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Saudis ‘ready’ to host any tournament

There is no confirmation on hosting the 2030 World Cup, with previous negotiations already confirmed by potential partners Egypt and Greece.

Prince Abdulaziz insists using three countries on three different continents should not be a barrier, especially when considering the 2026 World Cup host countries.

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

“But I think we have 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 major competition or championship. any in the future.”

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