By Andrew Cesare Richardson, ESPN writer
Juventus and AC Milan have been urged not to play their Italian Super Cup match in Saudi Arabia next January by Amnesty International.
The clash — which pits together the winners of last season’s Serie A title and Coppa Italia — is due to take place in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh between Jan. 12 and 16.
However, tensions have risen in the country in recent weeks following the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The news served to highlight the country’s poor human rights record; and it is for this reason that Amnesty International have said that playing the match in Riyadh sends the wrong message.
“It is clear that countries like Saudi Arabia are well aware of the potential for sport to subtly ‘rebrand’ a country,” a spokesperson for Amnesty told ESPN FC.
“Even before the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia had a truly appalling human rights record.
“We’d urge these Italian clubs to think twice about the signal this sends out to sports fans across the world and the activists who stand up for human rights in Saudi Arabia.”
Organisers Lega Serie A and Milan have declined to comment on the matter, while ESPN FC has contacted Juventus for comment.
The Italian Super Cup, which was first staged in 1988, has often been played outside of Europe. The first was in 1993, when Milan and Torino met in Washington D.C.