2018 Supercoppa Italiana
|Date||16 January 2019|
|Venue||King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia|
The 2018 Supercoppa Italiana was the 31st edition of the Supercoppa Italiana, the Italian football super cup. It was played on 16 January 2019 at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. With Juventus winning both the 2017–18 Serie A championship and the 2017–18 Coppa Italia, the game was played between Juventus and the 2017–18 Coppa Italia runners-up, Milan.
This was the third meeting between the two teams in the Supercoppa Italiana. Juventus won the first meeting in 2003 in East Rutherford, New Jersey on penalties, and Milan returned the favour, also on penalties in 2016 in Qatar. Both teams before the match had a record seven Supercoppa titles. Saudi Arabia became the sixth different country to host a Supercoppa Italiana. Juventus won the match, with the only goal coming from Cristiano Ronaldo in the 61st minute; Juventus became the first club to win eight Supercoppa Italiana titles.
Following the murder of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Turkey in October 2018, activists and humanitarian associations including Amnesty International have appealed to both the finalist teams and Lega Serie A for the match not to be played in Saudi Arabia. Amnesty International indicated the event as an attempt to "rebrand" its tarnished image, known as "sportswashing".
Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister of Italy, also labelled the decision to play the match in Saudi Arabia as "disgusting" due to laws regarding women attending the match. Laura Boldrini stated that "the lords of football should not be allowed to trade women's rights." President of Lega Serie A Gaetano Micciché noted progress compared to a year ago when no women at all were allowed in the stadium. Women will only be allowed in one section of the stadium, which comprises around 15 percent of the 60,000 seats, and will not be allowed to sit elsewhere in the stadium. However, Micciché has defended the decision to host the Supercoppa in Saudi Arabia stating that this will help to promote the Italian game to a worldwide audience. He also said that women in Saudi Arabia are allowed to attend matches since January 2018, adding that women will be able to sit in family area.
beIN Sports, a Qatar-based television network that owns exclusive rights in the Middle East to several major sporting events, urged the Lega Serie A to relocate the match on the grounds that Saudi Arabia allegedly condones digital piracy, referring to the Saudi-based beoutQ network which illegally streams content from beIN Sports. The network also cited similar calls to relocate the match made by human rights activists. However, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of commerce and investment has persistently taken a solid stance on protecting intellectual property (IP) rights where the Ministry seized thousands of set-top boxes used by BeoutQ to illegally broadcasting beIN's contents. Moreover, Ministry of Media welcomed the announcement the International Football Federation (FIFA) on taking legal action in Saudi Arabia to combat the pirate beoutQ that is also available in other nations in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), including Qatar and Eastern Europe.
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