Saudi Arabia stand like a rock with RFEF



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Spanish Super Cup will be played in Saudi Arabia until 2029 Image: AFC

The Spanish Super Cup will continue to be played in Saudi Arabia until 2029 after the latter agreed to a multiyear extension of its partnership with the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

‘2Playbook’ stated that the Spanish soccer body initially penned a deal with Saudi Arabia in November 2019, worth a reported €120 million (US$146 million), to host the reimagined Super Cup from 2020 until 2022.

The Spanish Super Cup is a super cup tournament in Spanish football. Founded in 1982 as a two-team competition, the current version has been contested since 2019-2020 by four teams: The winners and runners-up of LaLiga (men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system) and the winners and runners-up of the Copa del Rey (annual knockout football competition in Spanish football, organized by the Royal Spanish Football Federation).

The Royal Spanish Football Federation is the governing body of football in Spain. It is based in La Ciudad del Fútbol of Las Rozas, a municipality near Madrid (Spain). It was founded on October 14th, 1909 as Federación Española de Clubs de Football, and officially founded on September 29th, 1913.

‘2Playbook’ further stated that the four-team competition will stay in the Middle East for the rest of the decade.

Despite the 2020 Super Cup staying in Spain due to coronavirus restrictions in place, Saudi Arabia agreed to pay its annual fee for hosting rights, which is reportedly worth in excess of €30 million (US$36.5 million) per year. The country did so with the rider that it would continue to stage the competition for the foreseeable future.

With the next seven editions of the Super Cup beyond 2022 now looking set for Saudi Arabia, the RFEF will laugh all the way to the bank – as in their kitty will fall €240 million (US$292 million) and €320 million (US$389 million) based on the reported value of the original deal.

While the reported extension with Saudi Arabia would provide a sizeable boost for the RFEF’s finances, the organization has come in for severe criticism for its involvement with the kingdom amid accusations of sportswashing in the region.

Spanish public broadcaster RTVE has said it would not bid for Super Cup media rights while the event is staged in Saudi Arabia, citing concerns over major human rights violations in the country.

All said and done, Saudi Arabia has proved to be one of the best allies of the RFEF. As COVID-19 totally decimated the sports venue sector as well as the live events industry when it hissed the world in March 2020 resulting in severe financial strains for the sporting sector, Saudi Arabia decided to stand beside RFEF and cleared all payments agreed with the regulator, which exceed 30 million euros per year.

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