An Amnesty International spokesman said the Premier League needed to “reconsider the allegations made” about Saudi Arabia’s relationship with Newcastle United.
The announcement came after filings in the United States of America named club president Yasser Al Rumayan as “a current minister in the Saudi Arabian government”.
The English Premier League has previously said it received “legally binding assurances that Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United” during the club’s 2021 takeover by the Saudi Sovereign Investment Fund.
In a filing filed last Tuesday in a court in the US state of California, lawyers for representatives of the State Investment Fund and the Governor of the Saudi State Investment Fund in Newcastle, Yasser Al-Rumayyan, described the fund as “a sovereign instrument of the Kingdom.” Saudi Arabia” and called Al-Rumayyan “the current minister in the government of Saudi Arabia.”
Such statements were made by lawyers representing LIV Golf, owned by the State Investment Fund, in a lawsuit against the PGA Tour golf tournament.
Peter Frankenthal, director of economic affairs for Amnesty International UK, said in a statement to CNN: “The Premier League will certainly have to reconsider assurances made that the Saudi Arabian authorities were not involved in the Newcastle deal, at least with proposal from Qatar. Buy Manchester United now.
Last month, Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani made a formal offer to buy Manchester United.
“It has always been naïve to believe that the Saudi state did not lead the purchase of Newcastle United with the ultimate goal of using the club as part of their efforts to launder reputation in sport in general,” Frankenthal added.
In the year and a half since the Newcastle purchase, the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia has deteriorated significantly, with dozens of executions following unfair trials, jailing of peaceful critics, and authorities continuing to block accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Frankenthal felt that “there is an unmistakable irony in the emergence of a sovereign wealth fund disclosure in a dispute over another division of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s growing sports empire”, adding: “But the simple fact is that reputation laundering through sport affects many sports, and the governing authorities should respond to it more effectively.”
At the same time, the English Premier League declined to comment on this statement, as well as the State Investment Fund and Newcastle United also declined to comment, the source said.
Notably, Newcastle United are fifth in the Premier League standings with 41 points and aim to qualify for the Champions League next season.