LIV Golf advertises that “Golf is loud”. Since his debut last year, LIV (not an acronym, it’s Roman numerals) has played music on loudspeakers, shot his shirt into the crowd, and chilled out during tournaments to keep him off the PGA Tour. tried to take over the market. Donald Trump, and most of the time, famous golfers are paying disgusting amounts of money to compete in events.
But unless you’re really into the idea of rock ‘n’ roll golf, LIV’s story is the money behind it. Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund is a country that has been using it for investment purposes in international sporting events in recent years. A form of soft power. With state support and state incentives, the LIV can basically print as much money as it wants, which the PGA sees as an existential threat. The PGA banned golfers who attend LIV events from also participating in his PGA events, and in response, 11 of his LIV golfers filed antitrust lawsuits against the organization last August. bottom. In January, the PGA filed its own lawsuit against the PIF, seeking the dismissal of the fund’s president, Yasir al-Rumayyan, who is also a minister in the Saudi government. The PIF claimed that it and Rumayan were protected by “sovereign immunity”. The judges sided with the PGA.
It’s all interesting, even if you’re not into golf. The lawsuit over the Saudi State Investment Fund’s attempt to blow up America’s sports monopoly could produce some pretty interesting stuff, and the LIV-PGA war already takes on a marked political flair. Ali Fleischer!) But what’s really remarkable about the “sovereignty immunity” claim on behalf of the PIF and Al Rumayyan is what Saudi Arabia claimed in 2021 and looks like the opposite. PIF has acquired a majority stake in English football club Newcastle United.
At the time, the Premier League went to great lengths to assure critics that Newcastle were completely independent of any national body. As the leader of a consortium that also includes Amanda Stavely, Saudi Arabia has been implicated in Qatar’s economic blockade, and rival Gulf states have filed formal complaints to try to block the takeover. The station has accused Saudi Arabia of pirated Premier League broadcasts, in which the Qatar-owned network beIN Sports spent his $500 million on broadcast rights in the region. The bid was unsuccessful. Guardian At the time, the Premier League considered the PIF to be part of the Saudi state, and Saudi piracy of Premier League matches violated league rules that prevented prospective owners from participating in activities that would be illegal in the UK. was reported to have believed that .
Saudi Arabia finally got out of beIN’s way and the consortium moved to buy the club again, but there were still elephants in the room. MBS is more than just a head of state. He personally ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018, according to the US government. His role and his government’s dreadful human rights record were a big deal at the time.
However, in the fall of 2022, the Premier League approved the sale for surprising reasons. It had received a “legally binding guarantee” from the owner group. This was kind of a strange disclosure. Initial talks for the tender took place on an MBS megayacht. Just before the purchase failed in 2020, MBS tried to reach out to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (via WhatsApp) to intervene instead. bloomberg The MBS famously played an active role in the work of the PIF, again chaired by the Head of State.
Hijack cleared. Fans celebrated. Newcastle suddenly improved. The Saudi Tourism Board suddenly got a ton of sponsored content. However, the LIV lawsuit has revived the ownership issue. Rival Premier League owners and human rights group Amnesty International have called for answers about the club Al Rumayyan happens to be president of. When is a sovereign wealth fund not a sovereign? Ultimately, the answer is simply when it’s convenient.