Saudi Arabian clubs have been doing big money deals in recent months and attracting some of Europe’s best legs
Former Chelsea Sports director Michael Emenalo has defended the Saudi Arabian Professional League transfer policy amidst accusations of ‘sports washing’, Soccernet reports.
The Saudi Arabian Professional League has grown into prominence in recent months following their peculiar transfer strategy. The clubs in the league have adopted a procedure of tempting some of the best legs in Europe with big-money deals. Most of the deals are outrageously enticing, and as money is the aim of the game, most of the players accept.
A classic example is Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Manchester United for Al Nassr last December. The Portuguese star is currently on a mind-boggling €200million yearly at the Saudin side.
Since that deal, the Saudi Pro League has witnessed an influx of players from top leagues in Europe. At first, their focus was on older players, but they have even signed a lot of young players like Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jota, Demarai Gray, and Henry Onyekuru.
They have also attempted to sign others like Victor Osimhen and Mohammed Salah, but they have failed.
Because of their peculiar transfer policy, the Saudi Arabian League has been accused of Sports washing. However, former Nigeria international Emenalo, who is currently the Director of the Saudi Pro League, disagrees with the critics.
“I don’t see historically what sports washing has to do with Saudi Arabia’s transfer policy because this has been part of progress for so many enterprises and different organisations,” Emenalo said per Football Daily.
“Today, it’s the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia because they decided to offer quality entertainment to their people to try to participate in what everyone recognises as a blossoming industry- the football industry.
“I think people can make of it what they want, but that’s not the way that I see it. I don’t think this is what this is all about.
“From everything that I’ve seen, from everything, the strategies that have been in place, I have not seen a clear indication that this is anything but wanting to have one of the best leagues in the world to provide quality entertainment and leadership examples to the people of Saudi Arabia.
Despite the criticisms, the Saudi Arabian Pro League seems to be waxing stronger. Most of their clubs already have a lot of us who have played in mainstream Europe.