The German soccer goalkeeper Almuth Schult is extremely critical of a possible sponsorship commitment by the Saudi Arabian tourism authority for the women’s soccer World Cup in the summer. “Women in particular are not equal in society there and then this project is just not credible,” said the 32-year-old national player. According to a report by the portal “The Athletic”, Visit Saudi is to become a partner of the World Cup tournament in Australia and New Zealand (July 20 to August 20). A confirmation is not yet available, the world association Fifa left a corresponding request unanswered.
“Most of the players probably don’t want to accept the money for the tournament and it shouldn’t matter where the investments come from,” said Schult: “Up until now, we haven’t really discussed what we can do. But if the sponsorship is confirmed, I can well imagine protests being voiced.” Saudi Arabia has granted women more rights in recent years, but has repeatedly been criticized for human rights violations.
“It would be nice if the example of sport improved human and women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and created a different perception. I also see opportunities in it,” Schult continued, “but like any process, it will take time and unfortunately there is no guarantee that everything will not turn negative again after the possible award of the Men’s World Cup in 2030.”
Schult himself will miss the upcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The goalkeeper, who is currently without a club, is expecting more youngsters in August. Side note: The coach of the Saudi Arabian women’s national team is Germany’s Monika Staab, who has done a lot of football development work under the umbrella of Fifa or DFB in the past. The 64-year-old Hessin once said about her commitment in Saudi Arabia: “For me, football has more value than just playing football: to strengthen these women and girls in their self-confidence, to stand up, to fight for their rights, to to really be a part of society.”