Sport
Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:36
Amnesty International Complains to Premier League over Newcastle's Potential Saudi Takeover
TEHRAN (FNA)- Amnesty International wrote to the English Premier League asking for a full examination of Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations before it decides whether to approve the country’s sovereign wealth being used to buy Newcastle.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is seeking clearance from the Premier League to take control of the Northeast English club from retail entrepreneur Mike Ashley as the majority owner. The proposed 300 million-pound ($370) takeover is due to be in partnership with the wealthy British-based Reuben brothers and financier Amanda Staveley, AP reported.

PIF is overseen by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who Amnesty says has been involved in a “sweeping crackdown on human rights”. The Premier League does not have specific human rights standards set out in regulations that are used to assess the suitability of new owners.

“So long as these questions remain unaddressed, the Premier League is putting itself at risk of becoming a patsy of those who want to use the glamour and prestige of Premier League football to cover up actions that are deeply immoral, in breach of international law and at odds with the values of the Premier League and the global footballing community,” Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen wrote Monday to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.

Amnesty raised concerns with Masters about the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as questions linger over the crown prince’s culpability.

Agnes Callamard, a UN special rapporteur who authored an inquiry into the killing, called for sanctions on Prince Mohammad and said responsibility for Khashoggi’s killing falls on Saudi Arabia.

The report found “sufficient credible evidence regarding the responsibility of the Crown Prince demanding further investigation”.

The Premier League can block new owners if “in the reasonable opinion of the board” it can be determined they “engaged in conduct outside the United Kingdom” that would have resulted in a conviction in the UK had it taken place within the country.

Saudi Arabia’s trial of 11 suspects in the Khashoggi killing was held in secret and does not include the crown prince’s top adviser at the time — Saud al-Qahtani, who has been sanctioned by the US for his suspected role in orchestrating the operation.

The prince, Amnesty’s Allen pointed out to Masters, would become the “beneficial owner” of Newcastle through his chairmanship of the fund.

PIF’s vision overseen by Prince Mohammad is to ultimately pay for the mega state projects that will modernize and overhaul the kingdom and create jobs for young Saudis.

“The Crown Prince has been using sporting events and personalities as a means of improving the Kingdom’s reputation following the grisly murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi — widely believed to have taken place with his approval,” Allen wrote to the Premier League.

“Such positive associations with sporting events also distract attention from Saudi’s appalling human rights record, including the imprisonment and torture of women human rights defenders,” Allen added.

The letter cites Loujain al-Hathloul, one of Saudi Arabia’s most outspoken women’s rights activists, who was one of more than a dozen women detained in 2018, just weeks before the crown prince lifted the ban on women driving — something they been calling for in their push for equal rights.

The country has recently taken steps toward dismantling restrictive male guardianship laws by no longer requiring that women have male permission to travel abroad or obtain a passport.

PIF’s London-based media advisers have declined comment on the takeover. Teneo, the communications firm working for the billionaire Reuben brothers, confirmed they were involved in trying to buy part of Newcastle but declined to discuss Saudi human rights.

Ashley, who bought Newcastle in 2007 and owns the Sports Direct chain of retail stores, commented in 2018 on previous takeover talks with Staveley that collapsed but he has been silent on this latest attempt to complete a deal.

The English top-flight was a signatory on a joint letter from soccer bodies, including FIFA, condemning the theft of broadcasting rights by Saudi-backed pirate network beoutQ. They denounced “persistent and illegal screening” of games where Qatar’s beIN Sports owns the Middle East rights.

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom top
Iran to Fight Coronavirus More Seriously via Increase of Medical, Health Items Production

TEHRAN (FNA)- An official with the Industry Ministry said that Iran has succeeded in multiplying production of various items and equipment to help the nationwide battle against COVID-19.
Labour: Unemployment in UK Could Go 'Way Beyond Anything We've Experienced'

TEHRAN (FNA)- Unemployment could soar to levels “way beyond anything we’ve experienced before” unless the government extends the furlough scheme and gets to grips with the looming crisis, Labour announced.
White House Reportedly Plans to Interview Pentagon Officials for 'Political Litmus Test'

TEHRAN (FNA)- The American magazine Foreign Policy quoted unnamed sources as saying that as of next week, White House staffers will start interviewing political appointees at the US Department of Defense.
Washington State Claims US Gov't Providing Unsterile COVID-19 Screening Supplies Amid Surge in Testing Demand

TEHRAN (FNA)- Medical supplies sent by the federal government to help with coronavirus testing have been too slow to arrive and have failed quality control checks, according to Washington state’s top health official.
Official: 20% of Iranians Infected with Coronavirus

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian medical official said that nearly 18mln people in Iran have so far been infected with the COVID-19 virus.
Top Security Official: US Assassination of General Soleimani Huge Gift to Terrorists

TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said that Washington's assassination of former IRGC Quds Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani was the biggest gift to the terrorists in the region.
Iran No More Needs Foreign Aid to Repair Offshore Drilling Rigs

TEHRAN (FNA)- An official of Mostazafan Foundation announced that Iran has become self-sufficient in repairing offshore drilling rigs.
Iran Identifies 2,449 New Coronavirus Cases

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian health ministry announced on Saturday that 2,449 new cases of infection to COVID-19 virus have been diagnosed in the country in the past 24 hours, adding that 1,148 patients have been hospitalized.
Tehran, Moscow Confer on Energy Cooperation, Upcoming Joint Commission

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian envoy to Moscow Kazzem Jalali met with Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Tikhonov and held talks on the upcoming mutual energy cooperation within the framework of the joint economic commission.
Over 1 Ton of Narcotics, Four Smugglers Captured in Southern Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Anti-narcotics police seized 1,087 kilograms of illicit drugs and disbanded four trafficking gangs in South of Iran, a judiciary official of Hormozgan province announced on Saturday.
More Coronavirus Restrictions in Place in Iran as of July 5

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that wearing mask will be compulsory in crowded and public places as of Sunday (July 5).
Iran’s FM Wishing Instant Recovery for Pakistani Counterpart

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed hope that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi who has tested positive for coronavirus will recover immediately.
UK Chancellor Urges Public to Head Back to Pubs, Restaurants to Help Save Economy

TEHRAN (FNA)- Chancellor Rishi Sunak urged Britain to “eat out to help out” in a bid to boost the economy as it emerges from a lockdown slump.
US Troops Ordered to Suspend Activities in Colombia After Presence Deemed Unlawful

TEHRAN (FNA)- US troops have been ordered to suspend activities in Colombia for 48 hours after a court ruled that their presence in the South American country was unlawful.
COVID-19 in Spain: Local Lockdown in Catalonia Due to Virus Outbreak

TEHRAN (FNA)- The government of Catalonia announced on Saturday that the county of Segria will be placed under lockdown to try to contain the spread of COVID-19.