The House of Lords is due to debate the following motion on 21 March 2024:

Lord Scriven (Liberal Democrat) to move that this House takes note of countries that use sporting events to “sportswash” their human rights record, and the role of sporting bodies in aiding this practice.

1. What is sportswashing?

Sportswashing lacks an agreed definition. It has become “a short-hand way of criticising (usually) non-democratic regimes or large corporations for using investment in world-renowned athletes, sports clubs, and sports events to detract from illiberal, non-democratic, and/or exploitative practices in their home countries or businesses”.[1] The term sportswashing has been applied to a range of state involvement in sport both nationally and internationally, including:

  • hosting large events like the Olympics and Paralympics or the FIFA World Cup
  • setting up new facilities, sports infrastructure and domestic leagues
  • investment in teams and leagues internationally, usually through sovereign wealth funds
  • sponsorship of teams or tournaments from state-associated bodies like tourism departments and national airlines
  • engaging well-known international sportspeople in ambassadorial roles for new leagues and bodies

The potential benefits for states of being involved in sports have been assessed by commentators. For example, some commentators have argued that sport provides states with opportunities to gain soft power. In 2013, academics Jonathan Grix and Donna Lee explored why large developing countries were hosting “sports mega events” like the Olympic and Paralympic Games or the men’s football World Cup.[2] They concluded that hosting such events amounted to “the practice of public diplomacy by states to both demonstrate existing soft power capability as well as pursue its further enhancement”. They said that sporting events:

[…] provide unprecedented diplomatic opportunities for host states in particular to practice the politics of attraction by championing universally shared and admired sporting norms in ways that project a positive image of themselves in order to increase credibility and status on the world’s stage.[3]

Other commentators have argued that oppressive regimes and governments with records of human rights abuses have used sport to give themselves legitimacy and improve their international image. Writing for Foreign Policy, international development researcher Christian Freymeyer argued that “from the 1936 Berlin Olympics to the 2022 Beijing Games, autocratic governments have long used high-profile tournaments to generate positive media coverage and attempt to whitewash their regimes”.[4]

Jonathan Grix and colleagues returned to the theme more recently in a Political Studies Association journal article in November 2023, highlighting the economic benefits of sportswashing for participating states.[5] The article contended that when non-democratic regimes are embedded in the sports industry, it becomes “normalised” to do international business with them.

2. Is sportswashing increasing?

Early uses of the term ‘sportswashing’ are associated with the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan,[6] which Amnesty International described as coinciding “with the worst 12 months of repression since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991”.[7]

News aggregator data shows increased use of the term ‘sportswashing’ over time, rising from 51 mentions in 2018, through 559 in 2020, and reaching over 6,000 in 2023.[8]

Usage of the term in 2018 is associated with criticism of Manchester City’s new Abu Dabi-based owners.[9] Amnesty’s Gulf researcher Devin Kenny said “The United Arab Emirates’ enormous investment in Manchester City is one of football’s most brazen attempts to ‘sportswash’ a country’s deeply tarnished image through the glamour of the game”.[10]

The year also saw Russia hosting the FIFA Men’s World Cup despite its annexation of Crimea and Russian agents attempting an assassination in Salisbury, where a member of the public died.[11] The war in Ukraine has led to further scrutiny of the use of sport by Russia’s President Putin in recent years. For example, sportswriter Barney Ronay has argued that President Putin gained influence, soft power and legitimacy through hosting major sporting events.[12]

Writing in the Guardian, Karim Zidan contended that 2022 may have been “sportswashing’s biggest year” so far. He referred to the Beijing Winter Olympics and the FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar, arguing that the two most-watched sporting events in the world were being hosted by countries with “markedly oppressive regimes”.[13]

Mr Zidan also highlighted the 2021 purchase of Newcastle United Football Club by a sovereign wealth fund headed by Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. The author argued that this purchase would provide Saudi Arabia with “an opportunity to upgrade its public image and distract from its recent abuses”,[14] which included the war in Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.[15] The Premier League reported receiving legally binding assurances that Saudi Arabia would not control the club.[16]

In the journal Foreign Policy, Christian Freymeyer highlighted similar concerns about 2022’s African Cup of Nations, saying that it had offered Cameroonian President Paul Biya an opportunity “to legitimise his rule and his government’s stranglehold on power”.[17]

For the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, there were negotiations for ‘Visit Saudi’ to be a potential sponsor.[18] Several footballers objected based on the country’s policies towards women, which include mandatory male guardianship. Reportedly due to the “backlash”, the deal was not made. However, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said:

FIFA is an organisation of 211 countries. For us they are all the same. There wouldn’t be anything bad in making sponsorships from Saudi Arabia, China, United States of America, Brazil or India as far as we are concerned.[19]

3. Governing bodies and politics

Many sports governing bodies state that political neutrality is key to the way sport is organised. For example, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) code of ethics says that political neutrality is one of the fundamental ethical principles of the Olympic movement.[20] Ahead of each Games, the United Nations General Assembly adopts a resolution entitled “building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic idea”.[21] Football’s world governing body FIFA’s code of ethics also says that all persons bound by the code must “remain politically neutral”.[22]

However, there are some instances in which governing bodies will suspend states from participating in competition. For example, in the context of the Ukraine invasion FIFA has suspended Russia’s national team from participation in FIFA competitions, and the UEFA executive committee has suspended all Russian football clubs from participating in their tournaments.[23] The decisions were appealed by Russia, but upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport based on a number of factors. These included that the Russian team’s presence was likely to lead to boycotts from other teams (resulting in Russia progressing without competition), sanctions and travel bans would have an impact, and there would be no safe way to hold matches with Russian teams due to the likelihood of violent protest.

Russia has been suspended by the IOC from competing in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. This is because Russia recognised Olympic councils from the occupied regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, which violated the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee: a violation of the Olympic charter.[24] Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the ban was a “betrayal of the ideals of the Olympic movement”.[25] On 6 March 2024, IOC President Thomas Bach responded, “the Russian government apparently is ignoring the fact that they forced us into action by their invasion and their annexation of parts of Ukraine”. Russia has the option of its athletes competing as neutral individuals, but reports have pointed to Russia opting for a complete boycott.

There have been reports that corruption within governing bodies has played a role in some decisions.[26] For example, the New York Times reported that the awarding of the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup to Qatar had been mired by corruption and bribery:

Within a few years almost every one of the 22 members of the committee who had participated in the vote had been accused of or charged with corruption. Dozens of other executives had been arrested. Most were forced out of FIFA, and several were barred from soccer altogether.[27]

After winning the bid, Qatar needed to rapidly build stadiums and infrastructure to host the games. Human Rights Watch argued that FIFA should have recognised that millions of migrant workers would be needed and should have anticipated human rights issues.[28] In late 2022, FIFA indicated that it was considering providing compensation for workers who had died or suffered injury.[29] Ultimately, FIFA said that the Qatari Labour Ministry would provide funds. Human Rights Watch has stated that Qatar failed to do so.[30]

Some governing bodies have said that sport can be a catalyst for positive change. For example, speaking to the Guardian in 2023, in the context of the Grand Prix in Bahrain which attracted criticism from human rights organisations, CEO of Formula One (F1), Stefano Domenicali has said that F1 employs a team of independent auditors to assess human rights issues in each country it visits:

I truly believe in keeping the pressure in the right way.[…] Sport can be good in finding the point of connection, of contact, instead of the point of difference.[31]

He also said that he did not share the concerns of human rights groups about Bahrain, “We feel totally confident of the reports we are receiving from independent auditors that there is not any signs that are confirming the kind of things that some groups are saying”.[32]

4. Developments in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

On 27 February 2023, an early day motion was tabled, signed by 23 members of the House of Commons, expressing “grave concerns over the role of F1 and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile [FIA] in sportswashing the appalling human rights records of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia”.[33] The group condemned F1’s “refusal to engage with key stakeholders including human rights groups” and urged the government to support an “independent and impartial inquiry to assess the implications of F1 races in human rights violation”. F1 has a ‘Statement of commitment to respect for human rights’ which states that the organisation will focus its efforts on “proportionate steps” that are “within our own direct influence”.[34] FIA has stated that it “explores all possible ways towards the protection of human rights”.[35]

On 26 February 2024, 28 organisations, including Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders and Reprieve, wrote an open letter to the CEO of F1, Stefano Domenicali, ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.[36] Signatories pointed to “twenty years of sportswashing”, noting that Bahrain has experienced one of the largest deteriorations in human freedoms globally between 2007 and 2021, according to the Human Freedom Index 2023.[37] They stated that F1 has refused to respond adequately to human rights violations, including the death of protestor Salah Abbas Habib the night before the 2012 Grand Prix, the imprisonment of Najah Yusuf for criticising the Grand Prix on social media in 2017, and the arrest of four protestors near the circuit in 2023.[38] Ahead of the 2023 Grand Prix, the F1 CEO had said “individuals should be allowed to protest against and criticise our events without intimidation or reprisals”. When asked about the arrests, F1 repeated the Bahraini government’s statement that they had not occurred.[39]

Until 2023, Bahrain was listed as one of the UK’s 31 human rights priority countries. The UK government cited Bahrain’s “consistent and systemic progress in a range of human rights” as the reason for its removal.[40] In July 2023, the UK and Bahrain signed a strategic investment and collaboration partnership which committed to “more than £1bn [investment] into the UK” and to “support the diversification of Bahrain’s economy”.[41]

In December 2023, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy reported that 13 people had been sentenced to imprisonment in Bahrain “after an unfair mass trial marred with due process violations and torture allegations”.[42] Responding to a written question about the government’s continued funding relationship, the government said:

The FCDO [Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office] follows matters that relate to human rights in Bahrain closely, is aware of reporting about the court proceedings referenced and continues to encourage allegations of torture or mistreatment to be reported to the appropriate national oversight body. We have previously been assured in other cases (where individuals linked to one charge are tried together) that an individual’s right to separate legal representation of their choice is guaranteed by law. We remain committed to supporting reforms in Bahrain, including through the Gulf Strategy Fund, itself subject to robust oversight measures and rigorous risk assessments to ensure projects are effective, consistent with our values and in line with our human rights obligations.[43]

The spotlight has also been on Saudi Arabia in recent months. The BBC reports that Saudi Arabia has invested around £5bn in sports since 2021, with events including boxing, F1, the LIV golf series, ATP Tennis and an America’s Cup Regatta.[44] Research from Danish government funded body Play the Game has mapped 300 Saudi sponsorships in sport.[45]

Saudi Arabia is bidding unopposed for the FIFA Men’s World Cup 2034.[46] FIFA’s rotation rules mean only countries from the Asian Football Confederation and Oceania Football Confederation were eligible for 2034. FIFA’s bidding regulations for the 2034 tournament stated that respecting international human rights is one of the selection criteria.[47] Independent human rights risk assessments are also required to be carried out by bidding nations (a practice first implemented for the 2026 competition). An article in The Conversation contended that “In effect, the non-competitive bidding process means that Saudi Arabia is likely to have less pressure to set challenging targets around improving its human rights because FIFA has no rival bids”.[48] A FIFA spokesperson said that the hosts of the upcoming 2034 World Cup will have to be confirmed by the FIFA Congress in 2024 following “due process”.

Saudi Arabia is also involved in the new FIFA Series 2024, the pilot phase of a new international friendly project. Matches between teams from different confederations will play each other in Algeria, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka or Saudi Arabia.[49]

In an interview about the World Cup bid, Saudi Arabia’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal told the BBC that accusations of sportswashing were “very shallow”.[50] Asked about the country’s human rights record, he said “Any country has room for improvement, no-one’s perfect. We acknowledge that and these events help us reform to a better future for everyone”.

In September 2023, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke to Fox News about his country’s investment in sports, highlighting a goal of generating economic growth:

If you want to have tourism you have to develop your culture sector, your entertainment sector and your sports sector […] Sport used to participate in Saudi GDP by 0.4%. Today it’s 1.5%. So it’s economic growth, it’s jobs, it’s a calendar, it’s entertainment, it’s tourism and you can see we are now ranked number one in the Middle East […] If sportswashing will increase my GDP by 1% then I will continue doing sportswashing.[51]

Some European athletes have taken roles in Saudi sports teams or ambassadorial roles for sports associations. Former Liverpool captain and England international Jordan Henderson received criticism for moving to Saudi team Al-Ettifaq despite his history of supporting LGBT+ rights. He moved on to Dutch team Ajax after six months.[52] Other examples include Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal who is an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation[53] and former Leicester City football player and England youth international Ashleigh Plumptre who signed for Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad Ladies in September 2023.[54]

There have also been reports that Saudi Arabia is interested in bidding for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2035.[55] Women were first allowed to attend football matches in Saudi Arabia in 2018. The country then started its own women’s league in 2020. Talk Sport highlighted that there were at least 87 out LGBT+ players at the Women’s World Cup in 2023 and queried whether those players would feel comfortable being in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

The UK government and Saudi Arabia published a joint statement on the nations’ strategic partnership in 2021.[56] This included commitments to deepen sports partnerships:

The UK and KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] recognise and are keen to build on the excellent people to people links through the development of cultural, tourism and sporting opportunities. Agreements between the UK and KSA, including the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Sport and the General Entertainment Authority and with UK entertainment institutions will further develop co-operation.[57]

In February 2024 the government said that it raises human rights “with the Saudi authorities at all levels, including ministerial channels”. This includes highlighting concerns about travel bans for prisoners of conscience after release and activists’ family members.[58]

Also in February, the UK government held its sixth round of negotiations for a free trade agreement between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council, the political and economic alliance of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.[59]

5. Regulating football in England

In April 2021, the government announced a fan-led review of football governance in response to concerns about club ownership and financial sustainability in the English game.[60] In the context of potential sportswashing, football club ownership has been an area for scrutiny with Gulf-based investors in Newcastle United, Manchester City and Sheffield United.[61] Investment from the Middle East can also be seen in sponsorship deals, for example Arsenal is sponsored by Emirates, an airline owned by the Dubai government’s investment fund.

On 19 March 2024, the government introduced the Football Governance Bill, which would set up a new independent regulator for men’s elite football. The regulator would focus on financial sustainability, the suitability of owners, fan interests and approved competitions.[62]

The explanatory notes to the bill state that the new regulator must not use its powers to make a determination on suitable ownership based on “an owner or officer’s connection with the government of any country or territory”.[63] The notes clarify:

The IFR [Independent Football Regulator] could of course still determine that an owner or officer with state connections was not suitable where it has followed the applicable process and made the necessary findings […] but the owner or officer’s state connections, in and of themselves, could not be the sole basis for the determination.[64]

Speaking to Sky News, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Lucy Frazer said that owners will need to be fit and proper, but the bill will not have regard to “where they live”:

I don’t think it should be for the regulator to be determining issues of foreign policy. That’s for the government to do. And so this bill is about financial regulation. It’s about ensuring that these clubs do not go under. It’s about protecting fans and making sure fans are at the heart of the game.[65]

Some Premier League clubs have said that the new regulator should block states from owning English football teams.[66] In March 2023, the Premier League unanimously approved an update to its own owners’ and directors’ test to add new disqualifying criteria, including human rights abuses, based on Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020, and extending the list of criminal offences which would result in a disqualification to include offences involving violence, corruption, fraud, tax evasion and hate crimes.[67]

Amnesty International has questioned whether the criteria would apply. It noted most holdings are through sovereign wealth funds linked to states, rather than the states or individuals to whom the criteria might apply:

It’s a step in the right direction that human rights and hate crimes are now being considered, but it’ll make little difference unless powerful individuals linked to serious human rights violations overseas are definitively barred from taking control of Premier League clubs and using them for state sportswashing. Would, for instance, a future bid involving Saudi or Qatari sovereign wealth funds be blocked by this rule change? It’s far from clear that they would. The acid test of whether this new rule is fit for purpose is whether it would involve serious efforts to assess the involvement of prospective buyers in human rights abuses.[68]

6. Read more

Cover image by Rochak Shukla on Freepik. Image has been cropped.

This briefing was updated on 20 March 2024 following the introduction of the Football Governance Bill on 19 March 2024.


  1. Jonathan Grix et al, ‘Unpacking the politics of ‘sportswashing’: It takes two to tango’, Politics, 9 November 2023. Return to text
  2. Jonathan Grix and Donna Lee, ‘Soft power, sports mega-events and emerging states: The lure of the politics of attraction’, Global Society, 2 September 2013, vol 27 no 4. Return to text
  3. As above. Return to text
  4. Christian Freymeyer, ‘Biya basks in soccer spotlight in hopes of propaganda win’, Foreign Policy, 27 January 2022. Return to text
  5. Jonathan Grix et al, ‘Unpacking the politics of ‘sportswashing’: It takes two to tango’, Politics, 9 November 2023. Return to text
  6. Sam Cunningham, ‘From the Qatar World Cup 2022 to F1, PSG, Newcastle Utd and Man City: ‘Sportswashing’ allegations explained’, I News, 23 November 2021. Return to text
  7. Amnesty International, ‘Baku: A city of stark contrasts ahead of European Games in Azerbaijan’, 9 March 2015. Return to text
  8. House of Lords Library analysis. Return to text
  9. Jamie Doward, ‘Amnesty criticises Manchester City over ‘sportswashing’’, Guardian, 11 November 2018. Return to text
  10. As above. Return to text
  11. BBC News, ‘Salisbury poisonings: Third man faces charges for Novichok attack’, 21 September 2021. Return to text
  12. Barney Ronay, ‘Uefa and Fifa are too late: Russia’s sportswashing has served its purpose’, Guardian, 25 February 2022. Return to text
  13. Karim Zidan, ‘Could 2022 be sportswashing’s biggest year?’, Guardian, 5 January 2022. Return to text
  14. As above. Return to text
  15. Dan Roan, ‘Saudi Arabia World Cup 2034: Sports minister defends state’s right to host’, BBC Sport, 8 December 2023. Return to text
  16. BBC Sport, ‘Newcastle United: Saudi Arabian-backed takeover completed’, 7 October 2021. Return to text
  17. Christian Freymeyer, ‘Biya basks in soccer spotlight in hopes of propaganda win’, Foreign Policy, 27 January 2022. Return to text
  18. Sean Ingle, ‘Fifa admits defeat over Saudi sponsorship of Women’s World Cup’, Guardian, 16 March 2023. Return to text
  19. As above. Return to text
  20. International Olympic Committee, ‘Code of ethics’, 2024. Return to text
  21. International Olympic Committee, ‘Olympic Truce’, accessed 11 March 2024. Return to text
  22. FIFA, ‘Code of ethics’, 2023. Return to text
  23. Shane Sibbel, ‘CAS, the war in Ukraine and Russian football bans’, Sports Law Bulletin, 27 July 2023. Return to text
  24. International Olympic Committee, ‘IOC Executive Board suspends Russian Olympic Committee with immediate effect’, 12 October 2023. Return to text
  25. Sean Ingle, ‘Russia’s Olympic Committee suspended by IOC for violations against Ukraine’, Guardian, 12 October 2023. Return to text
  26. Tariq Panja and Rory Smith, ‘The World Cup that changed everything’, New York Times, 19 November 2022. Return to text
  27. As above. Return to text
  28. Human Rights Watch, ‘Qatar: Rights abuses stain FIFA World Cup’, 14 November 2022. Return to text
  29. Graham Dunbar, ‘FIFA open to compensation fund for migrant workers in Qatar’, AP News, 13 October 2022. Return to text
  30. Human Rights Watch, ‘FIFA: No remedy for Qatar migrant worker abuses’, 20 November 2023. Return to text
  31. Giles Richards, ‘Stefano Domenicali: ‘F1 can drive real change—we are not chasing money’, Guardian, 28 February 2023. Return to text
  32. As above. Return to text
  33. House of Commons, ‘Early day motion: Formula One in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and human rights’, 27 February 2023, EDM 905. Return to text
  34. Formula One, ‘Statement of commitment to respect for human rights’, accessed 11 March 2024. Return to text
  35. Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, ‘Human rights day 2018’, 10 December 2018. Return to text
  36. Freedom House, ‘Rights groups letter to F1 CEO ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix: 20 years of sportswashing’, 26 February 2024. Return to text
  37. CATO Institute, ‘Human freedom index 2023’, 2023. Return to text
  38. Freedom House, ‘Rights groups letter to F1 CEO ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix: 20 years of sportswashing’, 26 February 2024. Return to text
  39. Kieran Jackson, ‘F1 boss urged to correct ‘false’ Bahrain Grand Prix protest claims’, Independent, 24 March 2023. Return to text
  40. House of Commons, ‘Written question: Bahrain: Human rights (194938)’, 26 July 2023. Return to text
  41. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, ‘UK-Bahrain inaugural Strategic Dialogue 2023: Joint statement’, 31 October 2023. Return to text
  42. Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, ‘Bahrain: 13 people convicted in unfair mass trial’, 6 December 2023. Return to text
  43. House of Lords, ‘Written question: Bahrain: Human rights (HL995)’, 21 December 2023. Return to text
  44. Dan Roan, ‘Saudi Arabia World Cup 2034: Sports minister defends state’s right to host’, BBC Sport, 8 December 2023. Return to text
  45. Play the Game, ‘The power players behind Saudi Arabia’s sports strategy’, 1 November 2023. Return to text
  46. Dan Roan, ‘Saudi Arabia World Cup 2034: Sports minister defends state’s right to host’, BBC Sport, 8 December 2023. Return to text
  47. FIFA, ‘FIFA World Cup 2030 and FIFA World Cup 2034: Bidding regulations’, 4 October 2023. Return to text
  48. David McGillivray, ‘How Saudi Arabia’s unchallenged 2034 World Cup bid could weaken Fifa’s human rights demands’, The Conversation, 8 November 2023. Return to text
  49. FIFA, ‘FIFA Series 2024: Everything you need to know’, 27 February 2024. Return to text
  50. Dan Roan, ‘Saudi Arabia World Cup 2034: Sports minister defends state’s right to host’, BBC Sport, 8 December 2023. Return to text
  51. Fox News YouTube channel, ‘Good negotiations: Saudi crown prince says ‘every day’ is a day closer to peace with Israel’, 22 September 2023. Return to text
  52. Matt O’Connor-Simpson, ‘‘Jordan Henderson doesn’t make anyone happy’—England midfielder’s season from hell showing few signs of improvement at Ajax following Saudi Pro League nightmare’,14 March 2024. Return to text
  53. Tennis365, ‘Rafael Nadal breaks silence on his Saudi Arabia role and addresses sportswashing claims’, 14 February 2024. Return to text
  54. Sky Sports, ‘Ashleigh Plumptre: Former England youth international signs for Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad Ladies’, 13 September 2023. Return to text
  55. Uma Gurav, ‘Sportswashing or sports strategy? What a 2035 Women’s World Cup in Saudi Arabia could mean for the world of football’, Talk Sport, 4 February 2024. Return to text
  56. Department for Business and Trade and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy, ‘United Kingdom and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership: Joint statement (economic and social pillar)’, 15 July 2021. Return to text
  57. As above. Return to text
  58. House of Commons, ‘Written question: Saudi Arabia: Human rights (15422)’, 28 February 2024. Return to text
  59. Department for Business and Trade, ‘Trade update: UK-Gulf Cooperation Council FTA negotiations’, 19 February 2024. Return to text
  60. Department for Culture, Media and Sport, ‘Fan-led review of football governance’, 22 April 2021. Return to text
  61. Hezha Barzani, ‘Many European soccer teams are owned by Gulf states. But why?’, Atlantic Council, 4 April 2022. Return to text
  62. Department for Culture, Media and Sport, ‘Government outlines preferred structure of new independent football regulator’, 7 September 2023. Return to text
  63. Explanatory notes to the Football Governance Bill, p 57. Return to text
  64. As above. Return to text
  65. Rob Harris, ‘Foreign states won’t be blocked from owning football clubs, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer says’, Sky News, 19 March 2024. Return to text
  66. Daniel Ochei, ‘Premier League clubs ask government to block nation states from owning English football teams’, Football Today, 7 September 2023. Return to text
  67. Premier League, ‘Clubs unanimously approve changes to the League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT)’, 30 March 2023. Return to text
  68. Will Unwin, ‘Premier League to block owners guilty of human rights abuses under new rules’, Guardian, 30 March 2023. Return to text