The Englishman says he holds his hand up and that the position he had was probably not the right one

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Paul Casey Explains Saudi International U-Turn

Paul Casey‘s decision to play in the Saudi International raised some eyebrows when it was announced last year after he publicly spoke about why he did not wish to tee it up there in 2019.

Casey chose to sit out the inaugural Saudi International as a Unicef ambassador but he is one of the star names in a huge field this week.

“As I continue to face questions about my participation I feel it is important to clarify that I will not be playing in next weeks Saudi International event. Plus contrary to reports I had also never signed a contract to play. I hope this addresses any confusion. Thank you,” Casey wrote on social media in 2019 with the hashtag #unicefgoodwillambasador.

However, he has decided to tee it up this week and admits his position in 2019 was “probably not right.”

“I don’t think I was necessarily that political before, but you are correct, I took a stance where I didn’t participate before,” Casey told media.

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“I think something which I felt at that time a couple of years ago, was that I think I was a little bit torn. You know I’m a father. I’ve got two kids. You know my charitable ties with Unicef, and I felt that it was not right for me to play.

“I’ve spent the last two years thinking about that a lot. I’ve learnt an awful lot. I’ve read an awful lot.

“And one of the things that I was flat-out wrong on was — was with my Unicef ties, is that they are not a political organisation.

“Their focus is purely on the vulnerability of children around the world, and making sure they look after children around the world and doing everything they can to save them. And that’s important to me and that’s my focus with my charitable views and endeavours.

“And so I was reminded that if you stay away, if you don’t engage, if you don’t talk, you don’t visit, then you’re merely kind of hardening positions, and so that actually doesn’t do any good.

“Engagement and inclusion is really what it’s all about.

“And look, I think things are not black and white. It’s very much a grey area what we discussed in the last two years ago when I made a position.

“You know, if you mentioned something like children’s rights, there’s not a country on the planet that meets every single rights of a child, not a single country on the planet.

“And so all you can hope for is that a country is on a path towards meeting at many of those as possible.

“There’s something called the convention of a child, conventions of a child; the rights of a child. You can look it up.

“This country has signed up to those conventions and is making progress to ticking off as many of those as possible. And that’s all I can hope for.

“And if I felt that if my participation this year can assist in that process, and if that can make a difference, one iota of a difference, then that’s something important.

“So I will hold my hand up and say that the position I had two years ago was probably not the right position to have. And so that is why I am here.”