Public Investment Fund PIF led by Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is closing in on a deal to buy Newscastle United from its current owner Mikel Ashley. According to the report, the group will own over 80% of the club while the remaining 20% will be shared 10 /10 between Amanda Staveley‘s PCP Capital Partners and British businessmen the Reuben brothers.
There is no doubt that a deal is very close to been sealed between the two-party just remaining the background check on prospective owners that Premier League introduced to ensure that English clubs are owned by credible individuals or groups who do not have any criminal record.
However, it seems the deal might experience a little hiccup due to criticisms that the prospective owners of the English club are facing. They are known to be a violator of human rights, especially in their home country.
Amnesty UK director Kate Allen has warned Premier League to be careful of allowing Newscastle United to be owned by a group led by Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to Allen, Saudi Arabia is known to be a prosecutor of government critics which negates the constitutional right of everyone under a given government.
Allen reminded Premier League about the death of a journalist identified as Jamal Khashoggi who was executed in Instanbul in 2018 with an unfair trial by the court. Meanwhile, the CIA opined that it was the Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who ordered the execution of the journalist without a fair trial.
This was revealed through a letter Allen sent to the Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters. In the letter which reads: “I believe there are serious questions to address in determining whether the owners and directors of the company seeking to acquire NUFC are meeting standards that can protect the reputation and image of the game,” Allen said in a letter to Masters.
“If the Crown Prince, by virtue of his authority over Saudi Arabia’s economic relations and via control of his country’s sovereign wealth fund, becomes the beneficial owner of NUFC, how can this be positive for the reputation and image of the Premier League?
“So long as these questions remain unaddressed, the Premier League is putting itself at risk of becoming a patsy of those who want to use the glamour and prestige of Premier League football to cover up actions that are deeply immoral, in breach of international law and at odds with the values of the Premier League and the global footballing community.”
Allen also expressed her fear that the coronavirus pandemic might not give room for proper scrutiny to be done on the deal by the Premier League.
“The coronavirus crisis has already thrown a spotlight on football and its need to treat players and staff fairly, and now there’s a danger that the pandemic could obscure the need for a cool, measured and genuinely ethical decision over this deal,” Allen said.