New Jersey lawmakers seek to BAN LIV Golf from hosting events in the state

New Jersey lawmakers seek to BAN LIV Golf from hosting events in the state after Donald Trump welcomed the controversial breakaway tour to his Bedminster course earlier this year

The state of New Jersey is looking to ban LIV Golf from holding events in the state – months after Donald Trump hosted the controversial Saudi-backed tour at his Bedminster resort.

The proposed legislation, which was published on September 22 but is being introduced in committee, specifically namechecks LIV in its attempt to halt any sporting event being played where an organization is bankrolled with ‘funds primarily received from sovereign wealth funds’.

LIV Golf has unconfirmed plans to host a competition in New Jersey in August 2023.

The suggested bill says: ‘A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund comprised of money generated by the government, often derived from a country’s surplus reserves.

‘Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the “Public Investment Fund” (PIF), is among the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world and is primarily funded through the country’s large fossil fuels supply and exports.

‘Critics have argued that the PIF is being used to fund various “sportswashing” endeavors. “Sportswashing” is the term used to describe when a government uses sports in an attempt to improve the government’s global image.

Donald Trump, pictured alongside Yasir al-Rumayyan, head of the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, welcomed LIV Golf to his course in New Jersey earlier this year

But under a potential new law, LIV will not be able to return to the state in the future

But under a potential new law, LIV will not be able to return to the state in the future

‘LIV Golf is a professional golf tour established in 2022 that is funded by the PIF and includes several former PGA Tour golf professionals. LIV Golf has hosted three events this season, including an event at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.

‘This bill would prohibit a professional sport or athletic organization that is operated utilizing funds primarily received from sovereign wealth funds from hosting professional sport or athletic events in the State of New Jersey. This prohibition would include LIV Golf from hosting future events in New Jersey.’

It also says: ‘Critics of the tournament note that American intelligence officials concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, ordered the killing and dismemberment of the dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018; that 81 men were executed in Saudi Arabia in a single day in March, calling into question the fairness of its criminal justice system; and that Saudi women did not receive permission to drive until 2018 after a longstanding ban and still must receive permission from a male relative to make many decisions in their lives.’

Former president Trump spoke glowingly of LIV’s impact on golf when he welcomed the tour to his resort in July.

‘Now they have an alternative (to the PGA Tour) and nobody would have ever known there was going to be a gold rush like this,’ Trump said when he hosted a competition at Trump National.

‘You really have the best players in the world, many of the best players, and soon you’ll probably have all of them. Remember this, if there’s a merger (between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour), the people who didn’t come will never get anything except a thank-you from the people who took advantage of them.

‘I’ve known these people for a long time in Saudi Arabia, they have been friends of mine for a long time and they’ve invested in many American companies,’ Trump said.

‘They own large percentages of many American companies. Frankly, what they are doing for golf is so great.’

But criticism was leveled at Trump and the players who defected to LIV from the PGA Tour and DP world Tour by 9/11 Families United.

Henrik Stenson won the tournament in New Jersey in July and pocketed $4 million for it

Henrik Stenson won the tournament in New Jersey in July and pocketed $4 million for it

Family members and survivors from the organization 9/11 Justice were dismayed and criticized the tournament being held so close to where the tragedy unfolded

Family members and survivors from the organization 9/11 Justice were dismayed and criticized the tournament being held so close to where the tragedy unfolded

Terry Strada, national chair of the group, told Sportsmail at the time of the tournament: ‘How can I shame the shameless PGA defectors? Maybe by pointing out: when you agree to join LIV Golf, you are partaking in the (Saudi) Kingdom’s effort to cleanse their responsibility for their murder of Christine Lee Hanson, the youngest victim of September 11 who was just two years old, killed on United Flight 175 traveling to Disneyland with her parents.

‘Just 50 miles from where they will tee off on Friday is a national museum on hallowed ground, ensuring visitors from around the world never forget, and a repository safeguarding charred remains of 40 per cent of the victims, who have never been identified or returned home for a proper burial – including my husband.’

Henrik Stenson won the tournament that week in July, pocketing $4m for finishing in first place.

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