Deal with football club aims to cover up Bahraini regime’s black human rights record
In recent years, there has been a trend represented by a desire by Arab countries to own foreign football clubs. Al Khalifa leaders seem to be no exception as they like their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to consider the same possession. Recent reports suggest that Invest Corp Bahrain, a wealthy state-owned company, has finalized a deal to acquire Italian football club AC Milan.
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): In recent years, there has been a trend represented by a desire by Arab countries to own foreign football clubs. Al Khalifa leaders seem to be no exception as they like their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to consider the same possession. Recent reports suggest that Invest Corp Bahrain, a wealthy state-owned company, has finalized a deal to acquire Italian football club AC Milan. If the deal is done, the glorious Italian football club would be among the four richest football clubs in the world after Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and New Castle.
Previously, big clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were bought by the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, but so far no major club in Italy has been bought by the Arabs.
In recent years, it was mainly Chinese companies that wanted to invest and own Italian clubs. An example of this is the purchase of Inter Milan shares.
So, the new Arab team to join the race for possession of European football clubs is the rulers of Bahrain.
“Arab AC Milan”, a 10-year project to regain the glory of the past
Milan-based AC Milan football club was founded in 1899 by two Englishmen, Alfred Edwards and Harbert Killpin. Due to the origin of the club’s founders, the English name of the city, instead of the Italian name, Milano, was used in its naming. She won her first Italian title in 1901.
AC Milan have won major honors in Italy and across Europe. The most important of them are 1X FIFA Club World Cup Winner, 4X European Champion Clubs’ Cup Winner, 3X Champions League Winner, 18X Italian Champion Winner, 5X Italian Cup, 7X Italian Super Cup Winner, 2X Italian Serie B Champion, 3X Intercontinental Cup Winner, 2X Cup Winners Cup Winner, 1X Mitropacup Winner and 5X UEFA Super Cup.
However, this globally distinguished and popular club experienced a significant decline in the years following 2011 and this decline continues to this day.
The team have drifted away from the top tier of European football since 2011 and their fans have been calling for the team to be strengthened financially to return them to their peak. The Bahrainis seem to have taken advantage of the current club crisis to take control.
On Saturday, Italian newspaper Gazeta Delo Sport, in an article titled ‘Arab Milan’, said the deal would mark a new chapter for the football club. He detailed the deal, saying the initial step had been taken to transfer the club from its Chinese owners to the Bahrainis and that Arab Milan’s “big project” had already begun.
The wealthy Bahraini society agreed to invest heavily in the club for 10 years to revive its glory days. The company has reportedly allocated a hefty €300m for the upcoming summer transfers to bring big and famous players into the squad.
Another project for Milan by the Bahraini owners is the construction of a brand new stadium. The team shares a stadium with Inter Milan at San Siro for training.
Arabs seek to commercialize rentier income
Economically, Bahrainis’ efforts to buy AC Milan can be seen as a continuation of the commercialization approach of Arab princes in recent years. Arab countries have been encouraged to invest in Europe and the United States over the past decades as investors with vast rentier wealth. In fact, oil revenues from Arab countries, much of which goes to royalty, are tempting Western countries.
In recent decades, Arab princes have been urged to invest in stock exchanges, construction projects, and the entertainment and tourism sectors. However, in recent years, they have focused on sports, especially football, to funnel their petrodollars into a commercialization process to produce more wealth.
Countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in addition to planning the successful organization of the Asian Games, prestigious golf and tennis tournaments and the FIFA World Cup, also turned to buying European clubs.
Wealthy Arab princes have already bought clubs in major European football leagues such as the English Premier League, French Ligue 1 and La Liga, and it looks like they will be encouraged by their Western partners to invest in the German Bundesliga and the Italian Serie A in the near future. Thus, pushed by the enormous revenues of the sport, the leaders of Al Khalifa consider a major investment in AC Milan.
Covering Al Khalifa’s Black Human Rights Record
Unlike the economic aspect of the Arab rulers’ investments in football clubs, in which one can find legitimate and acceptable justifications, the political aspect of this investment aims to conceal their contemptuous reign and their black human rights records. the man.
In fact, buying big sports clubs these days seems to have become a trick helping Arab despots to escape the consequences of their human rights abuses.
In recent years, several companies and individuals from Arab countries have purchased European clubs, and in 12 cases they have been successful in their purchases. They currently have teams in four major European leagues, namely Spain, France, England and Belgium, and have even had success at clubs Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.
Thus, the Al Khalifa leaders’ big objective behind the purchase of AC Milan goes beyond economic revenue and is to whitewash their anti-human rights image on the world stage. Al Khalifa seeks to buy legitimacy from football fans unfamiliar with its politics and nature. Moreover, the regime intends to attract younger generations to its country.
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