Premier League chief executive officer Richard Masters would “fully consider” calls for a proposed Saudi Arabian-led takeover of Newcastle United to be blocked, the BBC reported on Friday.
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has written to the league to oppose the deal, while Amnesty International said that the Premier League “risks becoming a patsy” if the takeover is approved.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and US resident, was killed in 2018 while at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), led by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is reportedly to take an 80 percent stake in the club should the ￡300 million (US$338 million) takeover go through.
“I assure you and your client that her representations are being fully considered in our process,” Masters said in a letter to Cengiz’s lawyer.
However, Masters has shunned the request of a private meeting with Cengiz “in light of correspondence appearing in the media,” the BBC reported.
Cengiz has called on the Premier League to take a moral stand on the issue.
The deal is also being held up due to alleged Saudi Arabian piracy of a host of major sports events, including Premier League matches.
In a statement to the BBC, Cengiz said: “I’m cautiously optimistic the Premier League will make the right decision.”
“I’m sure that if the Premier League follows its own rules and charter, especially the owners’ and directors’ test, it will block the sale of Newcastle United to Mohamed bin Salman and the Public Investment Fund he chairs,” she said. “Until Bin Salman is held accountable for his role in Jamal’s brutal murder, everyone must refrain from doing any business with him.”
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