Cristiano Ronaldo: Amnesty International calls on soccer superstar to ‘raise attention to human rights issues’ in Saudi Arabia



CNN

Amnesty International said on Wednesday football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to highlight human rights issues in Saudi Arabia during his stay at Al Nassr.

A press release from the human rights watchdog quotes Dana Ahmed, its Middle East researcher, as saying: “Al-Nassr’s signing of Cristiano Ronaldo is part of a wider pattern of washing sports in Saudi Arabia.

“Sportswashing” is the phenomenon of restoring one’s reputation through sport.

“It is highly likely that the Saudi authorities will encourage Ronaldo’s presence in the country as a way to distract from the country’s appalling human rights record,” Ahmed added.

“Cristiano Ronaldo should not allow his fame and celebrity status to become a tool of the Saudi sportswash. He should use his time at Al-Nassr to speak out on the myriad human rights issues in the country.

The statement claims that the Saudi state executes people without fair trial and does not allow freedom of expression or association.

Ronaldo will earn around $200 million a year with Al Nassr, according to Saudi state media.

Amnesty International’s statement came in response to comments made by the Portuguese star during his unveiling of the Riyadh-based squad on Monday where he said: “I want to give a different view of this club and this country. That’s why I took this opportunity. »

CNN contacted the Saudi Ministry of Sports, the Saudi Football Federation and the Saudi Pro League for comment, but did not immediately respond.

Ronaldo’s representatives declined to comment.


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