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Leaked letter shows UK Government made supportive noises on Saudi PIF Newcastle United takeover

1 year ago

An exclusive from The Times on Friday, reports that the UK government have made ‘supportive noises’ regarding the Saudi PIF Newcastle United takeover.

Martyn Ziegler is Chief Sports Reporter at The Times and he says that they have seen a leaked letter from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

He reports that the letter: ‘spells out the government’s support for efforts by Saudi’s public investment fund (PIF), the country’s sovereign wealth fund which is overseen by the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and which aims to take an 80 per cent stake in Newcastle.’

The newspaper states that the letter from the government department was in response to a campaign group which had called for the Newcastle United takeover to be blocked.

Martyn Ziegler reports that: ‘The letter spells out concerns about human rights and the death penalty in Saudi Arabia but says “over recent years, we have seen an improvement in social and economic rights”. There are numerous commercial ties between the countries and this week the Saudi deputy defence minister thanked the UK for sending British military defence systems.’

However, the letter also says that the government cannot be involved in the Premier League’s owner and director approval process.

It may be stating the obvious to many / most of us but it needs spelling out to others.

Individuals and campaign groups can write to the government or whoever, urging them to stop this Newcastle United takeover.

However, it simply comes down to the lawyers working on behalf of the Premier League, going through the PL rules and checking that nothing breaks their rules.

This takeover is happening and it is ridiculous for anybody to think that the UK government would be pressuring the Premier League to block the Newcastle United takeover, when there are so many economic / commercial ties between the two countries already.

The Times quoting from the letter:

“There is no government role in this [Premier League] process.

“The UK government supports Saudi Arabia’s continued diversification efforts under its Vision 2030 strategy.

“Saudi Arabia’s investments through its PIF form part of these efforts.

“The PIF invests in many sectors internationally, with their potential stake in the ownership of Newcastle United FC part of this wider investment.”


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