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Manchester United funded by Saudi Arabia for 12 years by deals – Still no outrage?

5 months ago
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It was back on 29 April 2020 that The Mag kindly published an article by me about Manchester United.

It came about after we (Newcastle fans) found ourselves under sustained attack / abuse from what appeared to be the entire UK (and many overseas) media, regarding the (hopefully still!) imminent takeover.

My article was entitled: ‘Manchester United funded by Saudi Arabia in part for 12 years with deals – Where’s the outrage?’

With the moral outrage pouring out in the direction of Newcastle United and especially towards the fans, due to the imminent Saudi Arabian takeover, I asked…

‘How do you explain these Manchester United deals below???

The Saudi Arabian regime have been helping to fund Manchester United since 2008, twelve years!

Their deal with state owned Saudi Telecom is the ‘longest running of all our commercial partners’, a Manchester United official statement (see below) stated in 2017. That comment made as Man Utd launched another revenue stream three years ago from the Saudi regime, ‘the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia’ in partnership with Manchester United.

These deals seeing a Premier League club profit by many tens of millions of pounds, in return for these state run / owned Saudi enterprises being able to have the Manchester United brand splashed all over them, helping to legitimise the regime.’

Back on the 29 April 2020 I said I had never seen a single campaign or article demonising Manchester United or their fans, for taking Saudi money to help fund their club. I have searched the internet and still could’t find anything…not a single persson speaking out in the UK media demanding that Manchester United stop selling their souls in return for Saudi cash.

Imagine that, 12 years journalists had had to do this, yet never mounted one outraged campaign naming and shaming the Old Trafford club…

We are now 32 days later and safe to say that May 2020 was an incredible month in terms of the spotlight and abuse turned on Newcastle United and NUFC fans, regarding the identity of the imminent new club owners.

That is something that might happen but what about what HAS happened, for 12 (TWELVE) years at Old Trafford.

I have checked today (1 June 2020) and I still can’t find a single journalist (not even the king of outrage, Miguel Delaney) or newspaper, that has published a single article about how disgusting it is that Manchester United have taken tens of millions for 12 years (so far) in return for giving credibility (sports washing) to the Saudi regime AND demanding that this must stop.

Fair enough, if as a journalist you do think Newcastle United being intrinsically linked with the Saudi regime is reprehensible, then speak out.

However, if you do that, then surely you are then duty bound to also do the same regarding Manchester United taking fortunes off the Saudis in return for their seal of approval and sports washing.

So the question has to be, why the silence on Manchester United?

Manchester United official site – 19 October 2017:

Strategic partnership will see the club help Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority to create a sustainable and thriving football sector Manchester United and the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia have today agreed a Memorandum of Understanding, which will see the 20-time English League champions help the GSA develop its football industry, as part of its 2030 Vision.

The new strategic partnership will involve United lending its business and sporting expertise to clubs, sporting authorities and individuals in Saudi Arabia.

The partnership forms part of Saudi Vision 2030; the plan to diversify the Saudi economy and to develop its public sectors, announced last year by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Group managing director, Richard Arnold, said:

“The club has a long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia and has over five million passionate fans in the region. Our partnership with Saudi Telecom is the longest running of all our commercial partners. Having the chance to help shape the football industry in the Kingdom is a great honour and it is something where we believe we can make a big difference.”

The Times report – 17 August 2008:

‘Manchester United are set to unveil an innovative marketing tie-up, thought to be worth more than £10m, with the biggest phone company in the Middle East

The club have partnered with Saudi Telecom in a five-year deal that will grant the phone company rights to use Manchester United’s logo and imagery in its marketing within Saudi Arabia. The arrangement is said to be one of the biggest nonshirt sponsorship deals in British football. As part of the tie-up, Saudi Telecom will be able to offer its mobile customers video clips of match highlights, a text news service and other related content.

The Manchester club, which has been owned by the American Glazer family since 2005, will regard the Saudi deal as the first commercial fruit of the team’s tour to the region at the start of the year.’

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