It can’t be understated just how much the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the finances of football clubs across Europe.
Even the biggest teams in the world haven’t escaped, and are looking at a myriad of alternatives to ensure consistent revenue streams that will help keep them afloat.
News that Real Madrid are preparing to do business with Saudi Arabia, however, is unlikely to curry favour with everyone, given the human rights record of the state.
According to The Times, Los Blancos are looking to seal a 10-year sponsorship of their women’s side, Real Madrid Femenino, and for the privilege of having state-owned Qiddiya on the front of the shirt, a fee of €150m will be agreed.
Saudi Arabia will also expect Real to supply four members of the mens first team to become sponsors of the Saudi brand.
Collaborations with them and players from the first women’s team is hoped to encourage women in the country to take up the sport.
However, there have been suggestions that the tie-up is nothing more than ‘sportswashing’ in order to ensure Saudi Arabia gain positive publicity and the international influence that they crave.