Nigel Farage shares his take on Newcastle United takeover
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Nigel Farage has taken aim at critics of the £305m takeover of Newcastle by a Saudi Arabian-backed group. The takeover of Newcastle United has been nearly universally welcomed by the club’s supporters – but opponents have pointed to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. The Premier League approved the takeover of Newcastle after receiving “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi state would not control the club.
However, Mr Farage pointed out that the takeover is “small fish compared to the World Cup next year” which will be held in Qatar, a similarly controversial Middle Eastern Gulf state.
The GB News host said: “It’s a small fish compared to the World Cup, which will be the most-watched sporting event.
“And, well, we are all going to the World Cup in Qatar next year.
“So unless the same people who were screaming about the Saudi takeover are saying we shouldn’t be going to the World Cup, they are not very consistent – that is my view.”
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Co-host Paul Embery said it was a “classic case of sports washing”.
He said: “I’m not buying the idea that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or the Saudi state doesn’t have an influence on how the club is run.”
Mr Embery pointed to the phenomenon of players taking the knee to fight discrimination, and then “all of a sudden, you have people who have blood on their hands buy a Premier League club”.
He added: “And suddenly people want to turn a blind eye to it. It is selective outrage.
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“Football has a lot to answer for this, but frankly also for the World Cup next year.”
PIF is essentially a state savings account for the Saudi Arabian government and its chair is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the son of Saudi Arabia’s king.
Bin Salman has been accused of ordering the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who was critical of the Saudi government.
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A 2019 UN report stated that “the state of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible” for Jamal Khashoggi’s death, something the Saudi Arabian government always denied.
The PIF also owns stakes in Disney, Uber, Facebook and Starbucks.
The other 19 Premier League clubs are unhappy about the takeover, amid worries as to how Saudi Arabian owners will reflect on the league itself.
When the deal went through, jubiliant fans gathered outside Newcastle’s St James’ Park stadium to celebrate the takeover.
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