FIFA Best Player sponsor out of flavour with Saudis

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia players will boycott FIFA's man of the match award during the World Cup because it is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, the US brewry that manufactures Budweiser beer. "It's a matter of principle. No special meeting or decision needed to be taken. Saudi players will not accept an award linked to the maker of an alcoholic beverage," said Abdullah al-Dabal, a Saudi football federation official, quoted by Henry Chu in the LA Times.

He said as a Muslim nation, it was unacceptable for any of the Saudi players to accept such an award. Saudi officials told organizers of the decision before the 2-2 draw between Saudi Arabia and Tunisia (also a Muslim country). The man of the match award was given to Tunisia's Ziad Jaziri.

We recall that Brunei refused to play in the ASEAN Cup when it was sponsored by Tiger Beer of Singapore for a similar reason. However football-crazy Malaysia and Indonesia, both Muslim-majority nations, continued to participate.