The England women’s cricket team will reportedly be allowed to boycott the player of the match award at next year’s T20 World Cup after the players expressed reservations about the award’s sponsor.
Last month, the International Cricket Council announced that Saudi Arabian company Aramco, one of the world’s largest oil exporters, would be the sponsoring naming rights partner for all major ICC men’s and women’s events until the end of 2023.
In a joint statement, the two parties said the deal “reflects a shared focus on sustainability and innovation.”
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Aramco, which made record profits this year on rising oil prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, already has business deals with the Indian Premier League, Formula 1 and women’s golf.
The majority state-owned company is also closely associated with a regime in Saudi Arabia, which has been accused of multiple human rights abuses.
According to The GuardianAramco is “the largest single contributor to global carbon emissions of any company in the world since 1965.”
Saudi Arabia’s expanding sports portfolio, which also includes the purchase of English Premier League club Newcastle United and the LIV Golf tour, has drawn accusations of “sports laundering,” or the use of high-profile events to distract attention. of human rights concerns.
According to the cricketerThe Professional Cricketers Association reached an agreement ensuring that England cricketers would not be required to accept the man of the match award at the T20 World Cup in South Africa.
It comes after some players raised concerns about the sponsorship deal between the ICC and Aramco, the report states.
Australian player Adam Zampa was asked last month if he would be comfortable receiving the man of the match award at the Men’s T20 World Cup.
“We don’t live in a perfect world,” he replied.
“The fact that a conversation has already started, it’s going to be a steep learning curve for everyone.
“However, I hope to get the man of the match award at some point.”
The ICC will not penalize players who choose to miss out on player of the match award presentations if the sponsor did not align with their values, AAP reports.
It is the latest example of a growing phenomenon within professional sports of athletes taking a stand against energy and mining industry sponsors contributing to the climate crisis.
Last month, the Fremantle Dockers were urged to cut ties with their main partner, Woodside, after a group of high-profile supporters claimed it was no longer appropriate for an oil and gas giant to sponsor the club.
Meanwhile, Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting tore up their $15 million contract with Netball Australia after Diamonds players raised concerns about wearing a team kit that featured sponsorship branding.
The T20 Women’s World Cup kicks off in South Africa on Friday, February 10.