He is not the only former player to have supported the idea

Former England player Mike Tindall has said he would support Saudi investment in rugby.

Some clubs, including the Premiership side Newcastle Falcons, have reportedly had interest from Saudi investors. So far no deal has come to frutition, but if one did Rugby World Cup winner Tindall says he would back it.

Read more: Saudi investment

“It’s a hot potato, but I would say yes. We seem to be a sport which never gets rewarded for our loyalty and our values. I also think [the Amnesty International report] is one side of the coin,” he told The Good, The Bad and The Rugby podcast.

“If you went and spoke to UAE people looking at the west, they would have their view on how we run our countries; our country is not perfectly run at the moment, there are loads of issues around that.

“If you put it back to a sporting context, I don’t think it is really relevant. Every other sport is taking money from Saudi Arabia. Aramco have been putting money into numerous sports for years and years.

“Now every other sport is going in. I don’t think a sport [rugby] that could genuinely transform itself… what the players put in, the hard work on the field, is just not backed up by the finances off the field.

“If there is a way of doing that better, and other sports have proven it can be done and managed and people can get past it, then I don’t see why rugby should have an issue with it.”

There are already Saudi investments in other sports. For example Premier League club Newcastle United are owned by Saudi backers. However, the investment has drawn some criticism with some accusations of sportswashing. This means they use a sport to give themselves a better reputation of potential wrongdoings with alleged human rights violations in Saudi Arabia.

Tindall, however, is not the only former player who has supported the idea of Saudi money. Ex-England captain Dylan Hartley told LuckyBlock.com: “The game needs investment. The clubs need investment. Through chaos, we find opportunity. Who knew that Saudi might be interested in rugby let alone English club rugby.

“Before you go down the sportswashing argument. That story has been done millions of times now with football, golf and boxing. You can’t be too picky where the money comes from.”

Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on FacebookInstagram and Twitter/X.