World Soccer

Amnesty Internatio­nal object to Newcastle United takeover


The Premier League has been urged to update its owners’ and directors’ test by Amnesty Internatio­nal, following the approval of the Saudi Arabian-backed takeover of Newcastle United.

The £300 million deal was approved on the basis that the offer is from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), as opposed to the state itself – even though the country’s leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also chairs the PIF.

Bin Salman has been accused of ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 – a claim that he denies – while Saudi Arabia’s record on gay rights, capital punishment and freedom of expression has also been heavily questioned.

“The phrase ‘human rights’ doesn’t even appear in the owners’ and directors’ test, despite English football supposedly adhering to FIFA standards,” said Amnesty Internatio­nal’s chief executive, Sacha Deshmukh, in a statement.

“We can understand that this will be seen as a great day by many Newcastle United fans. But it’s also a very worrying day for anyone who cares about the ownership of English football clubs and whether these great clubs are being used to sportswash human rights abuse.

“In our assessment, this deal was always more about sportswash­ing than it was about football, with Saudi Arabia’s aggressive move into sport as a vehicle for image-management and PR plain for all to see,” Deshmukh added.

 ?? ?? Sold…Newcastle supporters celebrate the club’s takeover
Sold…Newcastle supporters celebrate the club’s takeover

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