Angeles Espinosa: "The problem of the Super Cup says more about our society than about Saudi Arabia"

The Spanish Super Cup is held in Saudi Arabia, a country in which human rights are not observed, as multiple organizations have denounced on numerous occasions. Ángeles Espinosa, a correspondent for El País in this part of the world, has come to La Ventana to delve into the political and social context of Saudi Arabia. In addition, there has been Dani Garrido, director of Carrusel Deportivo.

Changes that know little

The Spanish Football Federation justified in 2019, through the mouth of its president, Luis Rubiales, that taking the Super Cup to Saudi Arabia was “the opportunity to change things” in that country. Espinosa has preferred to focus on Spain: “The problem posed by this Super Cup says much more about our society than about this part of the world because we are the ones who are looking for business there and closing our eyes to the local reality.” However, he stressed that there are changes in Saudi Arabia, albeit few: “The main reason for these changes is economic. It’s been a long time since it is possible to redistribute to the level they were used to ”.

The social changes, according to the journalist, are the result of an improvement in the last four years, especially for women. “Access to work for women is incredible, and if you talk to young people there is an illusion and an expectation that now they can achieve things.” He has highlighted the presence of women in public spaces, due to the relaxation of “that system of guardianship that made them less than eternal age”, although he has remarked that it is far from being completely abolished. Some enhancements are the ability to travel, obtain a passport, or have a medical check-up without a man’s permission.

Not only in football

“The problem is that these changes have been unparalleled in the political arena and have come from above. Because of this, all the women and activists who have been fighting for these changes have been brutally silenced, ”Espinosa lamented.

Garrido recalled that the relationship between sport and the countries of this region goes beyond football, as in the case of Formula 1 or motorcycling championships: “I understand that when it is football, it jumps much more to the fore”. On the other hand, he has remarked that criticism from the field of football has focused more on the holding of this championship outside of Spain than on “the systematic violation of women’s rights and the LGBTI community.”

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