Human rights campaigners have urged Newcastle United to reject their £300 million takeover, describing it as “immoral”.
It has been reported that Mike Ashley has agreed to sell the Premier League club to a conglomerate backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which is chaired by Saudi’s crown prince and defence minister Mohammed bin Salman.
Bin Salman has overseen the Saudi-led attack of Yemen, which has created one of the largest humanitarian crises of our time, and has also been linked to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Andrew Smith, a spokesperson for Campaign Against Arms Trade, has now called upon Newcastle to reject the takeover proposal.
“If this immoral bid succeeds it will provide yet another propaganda vehicle for one of the most brutal and authoritarian regimes in the world,” he said, per the Daily Mail.
“The last thing that Premier League football needs is the involvement of the Saudi dictatorship.”
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He added: “This is sports-washing plain and simple. Football clubs are still community institutions and should leave a positive footprint.
“Money should not trump values. The message that this deal would send is one of contempt for the many thousands of victims of Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.”