In the week that Rory McIlroy turned down the opportunity to play in Saudi Arabia on the grounds of “morality”, the Ladies European Tour (LET) has announced it will stage the first ever women’s professional event in the Kingdom next year.

The tournament, to be staged at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club near Jeddah in March, will boast a prize fund of $1m and is the latest sporting event to be lured to the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s well-documented and appalling human rights record – described by Amnesty International as “heinous” – has led to campaigners condemning the use of sport to project a different image of the country to the world. The issue of “sportswashing” has provoked major debate but the Saudi regime’s sporting portfolio continues to grow.

READ MORE: McIlroy turns down Saudi Arabia trip

Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson have all accepted huge appearance fees to compete in the second staging of the European Tour’s Saudi International at the start of the new year, an event both McIlroy and Tiger Woods have opted to side-step.

Last weekend in Riyadh, Anthony Joshua won his world heavyweight boxing bout with Alex Ruiz Jnr while Formula E and WWE Wrestling are also included on the list of events staged there. A £2.5m tournament on the world snooker circuit has also been pencilled in for 2020.

Carly Booth, the three-time Ladies European Tour winner from Perthshire, was savaged on social media earlier this year when she promoted her role as an ambassador for Golf Saudi in a Tweet that was later deleted in the midst of the growing backlash.

The Scot, who continues to have a tie in with the Saudi Golf Federation, will be one of a number of high profile LET players competing next year.

She said: “I have visited Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions and been lucky enough to spend some time teaching local women and girls how to play; they have been so enthusiastic and I am sure that seeing professional golfers compete in their country will inspire them to take up the game.”