MPs mount campaign to halt the £300m sale of Newcastle United to oil-rich Saudis


FOOTBALL-loving MPs have mounted a campaign to halt the £300million sale of Newcastle United to oil-rich Saudis.

They want the Premier League to block it over human rights abuses, and what they see as “blatant piracy” of our national game.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

Footie chiefs are considering whether to let the Saudi Arabia ­Public Investment Fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, buy an 80 per cent stake in the Toon.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has listed 20 Saudis who committed “the gravest human rights violations”. They include those linked to the 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. His fiancee Hatice Cengiz has urged the Premier League to block the takeover. 

Last month, the World Trade Organization ruled Saudi Arabia helped breach international piracy laws with the illegal broadcast of Premier League matches. 

Tory Mike Wood, vice chair of the all-party group for football, said: “It’s hard to see how the Investment Fund meets any fit and proper person test.”

Lib Dem Daisy Cooper and the SNP’s John Nicolson also said the Newcastle bid cannot be allowed to happen.  

Khashoggi’s fiancé Hatice Cengiz issued a statement against the takeover earlier this week.

She said: “The inner-circle of the Crown Prince is now on trial for murder in Turkey and under new sanctions in the UK, including Saudi-Al-Qahtani, who has also been implicated by the World Trade Organisation as a senior official involved in the criminal piracy of Premier League and BeIN sports broadcasts. Considering all these facts, the UK government and the Premier League must not allow the takeover of Newcastle United by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.”

Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in 2018
The Saudi Arabia ­Public Investment Fund is bidding for an 80 per cent stake in the Toon

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