Italian Super Cup in Saudi Arabia moves forward
MILAN (AP) — Serie A has announced the date and venue of the Italian Super Cup, which will be played in Saudi Arabia next month despite calls for the game to be moved after the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
The match between Juventus and AC Milan will be played on Jan. 16 at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah.
While the match is slated to be broadcast domestically by RAI, the Italian state TV’s journalists’ union said last month that it was “absurd” and “inacceptable” for the game to be played in Saudi Arabia less than three months after Khashoggi’s killing.
Saudi agents killed Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate two months ago.
U.S. intelligence assessments and experts have said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who controls all levers of power in Saudi Arabia, likely ordered or at least knew about the killing. Saudi authorities say those who killed Khashoggi exceeded their authority, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five people allegedly involved in the killing.
Human rights group Amnesty International has also voiced opposition to the match being played in Saudi Arabia.
In June, the Italian league announced that it had agreed to a deal with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority for three of the next five Super Cups to be played in the country.
The deal reportedly will provide 20 million euros ($23 million) to Serie A and 3.15 million euros to participating clubs.
The game has been contested 11 times abroad before, most recently in Qatar in 2016, when Milan beat Juventus in a penalty shootout.
Juventus qualified for next month’s match by winning a seventh consecutive Serie A title while Milan qualified as the Italian Cup finalist.