Aramco cricket deal proves again sport will ignore reality to generate revenue | sport
JThree years ago, Aramco, the oil giant majority-owned by the Saudi royal family, underwent a subtle rebranding. And subtle is the key word here: the company’s distinctive logo, a white star on a blue and green background, has remained in place. But somehow the blue was made just a little bluer, the green just a little greener, the typeface softened to gray lowercase, the word “Arabia” and the Arabic script above has been quietly removed.
It was the logo Sam Curran stood on as he prepared to play for England against Pakistan in their final Twenty20 World Cup warm-up on Monday, a small pile of sawdust at his feet. At the edge of the border, a strip of Aramco billboards – blue as blue as the sky, green as green as life – glittered in the Brisbane night. Curran examined the ball in his hands, launched into his jumping approach and fixed his gaze on a set of Aramco-branded stumps about 40 yards away.
Does Curran record the existence of these images or their significance? Let’s take a wild swing in the dark: probably not. Honestly, why would you? To exist as an international cricketer in 2022 is to be innocently festooned in a jumble of unintelligible words and icons: some ironed onto the front of your shirt, some painted on the grass beneath your feet, some cluttering the your player’s fringes -the match check. It is only the flora and fauna of your world. Expecting a player to question it or even review it is like asking an opinion on Guernica from an ant crawling across its surface.
Just like that, seamless and unnoticed, Aramco slips into the room, pulls up a chair, and blends into the canvas. Just a few days ago, the International Cricket Council announced that it was awarding one of its high-profile sponsorships to a company believed to be responsible for extracting the oil that produced more than 4% of the world’s emissions of greenhouse gases since 1965, which has made lavish profits following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which belongs to a regime which has sanctioned the widespread use of torture and murder on its own purposes.
Yet the ICC press release was forward-looking. There were many references to the focus on “sustainability and innovation”, with Aramco recycling machines to be installed at all seven T20 World Cup pitches. “We are delighted to welcome Aramco to the family of ICC global partners,” said Managing Director Geoff Allardice, with all the beaming pride of a man who feels he is not losing moral authority so much. residual that the ICC might have. possessed on human rights, gender equality or the climate crisis, but winning a son.
It is not a radical change or the crossing of a red line. Nor are we simply referring to the gradual seepage of tainted money into cricket, from repressive regimes to mass polluters to cryptocurrency companies with massive and catastrophic environmental footprints. One of the by-products of sports embracing immoral revenue streams is the way words and messages have become separated from meaning, the way administrators and governing bodies increasingly issue statements so far removed from reality that they are essentially nonsense. There are two words curiously missing from the ICC’s announcement of its sponsorship of Saudi oil. One is “oil”, and the other is “Arabia”. Do we think they knew? Should someone tell them?
It’s likely that the average World Cup spectator would be essentially oblivious to the genesis of that innocuous tiny word emblazoned midway through, swaddling the boundary rope, printed on the recycling machines. By such means, the word “Aramco” is simply and harmlessly absorbed into the cricketing lexical subconscious: the maximum DLF, the Popchips Superchargers, your Aramco player of the match.
In the 1990s, at its Shaybah oilfield, Aramco began pioneering an unusual and extremely expensive technique called horizontal drilling. The idea is that instead of drilling multiple wells in multiple locations, you create a network of underground wells going laterally from a single bore, some of them miles long, in order to reach the reservoirs. deep crude that would be inaccessible vertically. On the surface, very little seems to be happening. But via an invisible network of tentacles and drills, guided by advanced computer modelling, the ground beneath your feet is slowly sucked away.
This is how the world changes. Out of sight, out of reach, beyond your knowledge, beyond your understanding, and from the inside out.
What you see – a golf tournament, an Anthony Joshua shot, Bruno Guimarães taking on a challenge, Curran licking his lips and grabbing the ball for a cross stitch – is the tiniest fraction of the whole. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to us: a palimpsest of competing words and images whose cumulative effect is pure confusion that prevents any alternative vision from emerging.
A one-day international from Durham played in the 37C heat at Byju’s. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi. ICC’s partnership with Aramco reflects a shared focus on sustainability and innovation. Emirates. The Antilles need 98 balls out of 68. India offers huge long-term growth opportunities, Aramco said in a statement Sunday. Booking.com. Singh to lefties, it’s a smart game.
Close your eyes and you can hear everything, and everything at once. The sound of an oil rig is steady, low frequency and monotonous, and some people claim it helps them sleep.