The Supercopa de Espana is the latest major sporting tournament to be hosted in Saudi Arabia, albeit not without its controversy.
The four clubs involved – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia and Atletico Madrid – have only sold just over 1000 tickets between them, according to El Mundo ahead of the tournament which kicks off tomorrow morning.
Playing out of the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah – which has a capacity of 62,000 – 90 per cent of the 12,000 tickets available to each competing club have not been sold, with organisers Sela Sports confirming a majority of the tickets have been purchased by locals.
Real Madrid has sold 700 tickets, with Barcelona sitting at a little over 300 while Atletico and Valenica have only sold a mere 50 and 26 tickets respectively.
The decision to re-locate the tournament – in a deal believed to be worth around 40 million euros – Amnesty International has condemned the move.
Moreover, Saudi ambassadors have ensured women will be granted full access to attend the matches – after the ban prohibiting them from attending matches was lifted in January 2018.
Further controversy lies in the monetary distribution to each of the clubs should they win the tournament.
Valenica has publicly expressed their disappointment with the club only set to pocket 3 million euros should they win it, in contrast to the ten million on offer for Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The tournament – which traditionally pits the league and Copa del Rey winners against one-another – was expanded in February 2019 to include the runners-up of the respective competitions as well.
It is believed Real Madrid will leave star striker Karim Benzema and Welsh international Gareth Bale behind, while Lionel Messi could be left out for Barcelona.
The Supercopa kicks off weeks after the Supercoppa Italiana was won by Lazio in front of 23,361 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.