PRESS RELEASE: FIFA partnership with Saudi Aramco a “Dangerous step in the wrong direction for global football” 

FIFA today confirmed that Saudi Aramco will be the official Partner of FIFA, with rights across multiple events including FIFA World Cup 26™ and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027™.

This partnership with Saudi Aramco sets the world’s most popular sport on a regressive course just as the global community must lower emissions by around 50% this decade

Saudi Aramco has emitted more greenhouse gas pollution than any other corporation. It is almost entirely owned (98.5%) by the Kingdom of  Saudi Arabia, which has a long history of derailing attempts to reduce emissions. It also has plans to artificially raise oil demand in Africa and Asia, just when these countries can transition to clean sources of electricity such as solar and wind. Football sponsorship deals are helpful in building the reputation to support these efforts.

Saudi Arabia has made a series of large acquisitions in the world of global sport, including bankrolling football clubs to purchase some of the world’s most recognisable players, taking over Newcastle United F.C and launching a breakaway golf competition. While these investments have been made under the guise of diversifying its oil-dependent economy, many believe the Kingdom is using sport to clean up its reputation and drive demand for fossil fuels amid international pressure to address climate change. 

This partnership therefore represents an overwhelming endorsement of a Saudi regime that is deeply harmful, from its disastrous human rights record to its outsized contribution to the polluting emissions that are deepening dangerous levels of global heating. 

Tessel Middag, Rangers F.C. player and 44-times Netherlands international player, said: 

“The most watched events of the world’s most popular sport are unique opportunities to bring the international football family together. Instead of standing up for human rights for all and helping to protect the planet we all live on, FIFA has invited one of the worst offenders when it comes to pollution and human rights to attach their name to the 2027 Women’s World Cup. I hope that this tournament will be co-hosted by the Netherlands and I know we have plans to organise the tournament in an environmentally responsible way. But I’m outraged by the idea that football players will be forced to promote one of the world’s biggest polluters. I therefore hope that other players and fans will join me in condemning this harmful decision, which is a dangerous step in the wrong direction for global football”. 

Frank Huisingh of Fossil Free Football said:

“By allowing Saudi Aramco to attach its brand to its showpiece World Cup tournaments, FIFA are granting them the opportunity to normalise dirty fossil fuels to billions of fans at a time when the world needs to stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Fans want FIFA to take serious climate action, rather than sell out to the world’s biggest polluters.”

Freddie Daley from the Badvertising campaign said: 

“FIFA is responsible for the future of football and its global fanbase, but this deal is a complete dereliction of that duty. It could not be simpler: if Saudi Aramco’s production plans go ahead then football faces an increasingly perilous future, where large parts of the planet will be completely inhospitable to the game. Instead of trying to build a world where football can be a truly global game, FIFA is taking cash from a company that is condemning humanity to more heat, more floods and less football.” 

This partnership is an abdication of responsibility from a body that is completely unmoored from the potential of football to act as a force for positive social change. Today, instead of taking a chance to live up to its sustainability pledges and represent the interests of the global football community, FIFA have chosen to hand over that far-reaching possibility for influence to one of the world’s most harmful corporations. 

FIFA has stated commitment to human rights and sustainability under its Statute and the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework respectively. But aligning with big polluting Saudi Aramco is a blatant undermining of previous pledges to promote environmental responsibility within the global football community.

FIFA is selling out the future of football for short term revenue. Fossil Free Football urges FIFA to cancel its partnership with Saudi Aramco and install a clear policy banning all sponsorship deals with big polluters.

For more background, see:

For any questions (and to reach those quoted above), please contact: Peter Crisp, campaigner Fossil Free Football,