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07th Oct 2021

Newcastle takeover by Saudi sovereign fund could go through today

Wayne Farry

Fans are excited, but critics have labelled the takeover as unashamed sportswashing

The takeover of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund could be announced today, Thursday October 7, according to reports.

Fans of the club have taken to social media over the past 24 hours to celebrate the news of an impending takeover, and the subsequent departure of current owner Mike Ashley, the unpopular Sports Direct owner who supporters have been calling to sell the club for years.

The takeover, which was blocked partly due to a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar-owned beIN Sports over a pirated version of the network which was hosted and allowed to operate from Saudi Arabia, now appears to have the green light after news emerged on Wednesday that the dispute had been resolved.

Question marks have now turned to the involvement of the Saudi state in the running of the club, due to its ownership of the sovereign investment fund, and the fact that Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, is listed as a chairman of the fund.

MBS, who was hailed by some as a potential reformer of Saudi Arabia when he first assumed power in June 2017, is alleged to have ordered the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.

Khashoggi was dismembered by agents of the Saudi state at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, an order allegedly handed down by MBS.