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16 Mar 2023

Kalika Mehta, DW (Germany)

NZ & Australia: Visit Saudi dropped as women's World Cup sponsor following criticism over Kingdom's rights record

"Visit Saudi ditched as potential women's World Cup sponsor,"

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has claimed FIFA's failure to do adequate due diligence has led to football's governing body having to reverse its intention to have 'Visit Saudi' named as a sponsor for the women's World Cup.

The Saudi Arabia tourism board had been touted as a potential sponsor of the expanded 32-team tournament, which drew sharp criticism from a number of quarters.

Joint host nations of this summer's competition Australia and New Zealand wrote to FIFA in February, when the potential sponsorship deal was reported, first by The Athletic, demanding clarification and to express "shock" and "disappointment"...

"The significance of this is that it is the first reversal of a sponsorship that FIFA has made," Minky Worden, Director of Global Initiatives at Human Rights Watch, told DW.

"This is the first time FIFA are leaving money on the table because they failed to do human rights due diligence, so it's a pretty important reversal."

"The importance of this is that FIFA also did not consult the female national team players, who are most affected. They failed to think through what the implications are for women's, LGBTQ and human rights."