Sports washing again and again: Dubai club is pushing into Europe’s premier class

Again and again sports washing
Dubai club is pushing into Europe’s premier class

The Gulf States buy into international top-class sport with a lot of money. Now a basketball club from Dubai is trying to enter the highest European competition shortly after it was founded. The EuroLeague is open to the idea of ​​sports washing.

The Dubai Basketball Club is negotiating with the EuroLeague about the participation of the franchise in the European premier class. This was confirmed by Abdullah al-Naboodah, owner of the newly founded club. The EuroLeague had already made public talks about “potential cooperation” with al-Naboodah earlier this month.

“Negotiations with the EuroLeague started eight months ago with the aim of adding a club from Dubai to the prestigious competition and hosting certain matches in the city,” said al-Naboodah, who is also the head of the 17,000-seat Coca Cola Arena in Dubai.

Meanwhile, al-Naboodah denied European media reports that Dubai had offered 50 to 60 million euros for the EuroLeague naming rights, with the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (Emirates Airlines) being traded. “We haven’t discussed naming rights as the competition has a commercial partner (Turkish Airlines, editor’s note) until 2025,” al-Naboodah said.

The businessman had invited representatives of the EuroLeague and 13 clubs that are shareholders to Dubai. Of the two German participants, FC Bayern is one of those shareholders, while champion Alba Berlin is involved via a wildcard. “The purpose of the visit was to exchange ideas and identify opportunities for possible cooperation,” said EuroLeague General Manager Marshall Glickman after the meeting. But it is “still too early to go into details. We look forward to continuing the talks.”

An agreement would be another success in the Gulf states’ way of securing top-class sporting events. For example, the new and controversial LIV golf series is being financed with Saudi Arabian money, and the World Cup is taking place in Qatar this year. In addition, Formula 1 has already driven in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in the current season, the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi is still pending. The countries are repeatedly accused of sports washing when trying to host major events.

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