Argentina and Brazil to return to Saudi Arabia for ‘Riyadh Season’ festival

October 9 – Saudi Arabia will stage another high-profile friendly between Brazil and Argentina in November as part of the Riyadh Season, the country’s General Entertainment Authority, headed by Turki Al-Sheikh, announced.

In 2018, the South American giants met in a friendly in Jeddah. A late goal from Miranda was enough to separate the two teams in front of a near sell-out crowd at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in a game marketed as the Superclasico. The rematch between the two former world champions will be played next month in the country’s capital Riyadh.

The match will be a feature of the ‘Riyadh Season’ an annual festival that in 2019 will bring Bruno Mars, Pitbull, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopes and a slate of other pop stars to Saudi Arabia.

The festival is part of Saudi Arabia’s bid to become a tourist destination and provide the local population with entertainment.

The South American friendly was announced by the General Entertainment Authority, which is led by Al-Sheikh, a confidant of the controversial crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.

Al-Sheikh’s stock in the game has fallen dramatically. In the past he was the head of Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority and with the Saudi-led launch of the new regional body SWAFF he wanted to show his influence, seeking influential positions in Asian and world football. However, his challenge quickly faded and after an internal restructuring he was reassigned to the lead position of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority.

The Saudis are increasingly becoming pariahs in the global game over their ongoing support of  pirate broadcaster beoutQ that has been stealing sports and general entertainment broadcast rights on an industrial scale. On Tuesday, beIN Media Group CEO Yousef Al-Obaidly warned that the TV rights fees bubble had burst as a consequence of the pirating undermining the commercial rights model for both pay and free-to-air broadcasters.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1590595265labto1590595265ofdlr1590595265owedi1590595265sni@o1590595265fni1590595265