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Tue Jan 28, 2020, 09:16 AM

Amnesty International Says Possible Saudi Arabia Purchase Of Newcastle United Is 'Blatant Whitewash'

Amnesty International Says Possible Saudi Arabia Purchase Of Newcastle United Is ‘Blatant Whitewash’ Of Khashoggi Murder

The rumored $444 million (£340 million) purchase of Newcastle United Football Club by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has come under fire today from human rights group Amnesty International. The group claims that the deal is “sportswashing, plain and simple” and a cynical attempt to use Premier League football to mask the country’s “abysmal” human rights record.

Commenting on reports that Newcastle United Football Club may be taken over by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Felix Jakens, Amnesty International UK’s Head of Campaigns, said the takeover of Newcastle United doesn’t come as a major surprise.

A statement from Amnesty International claims: “Saudi Arabia is well-known for its attempts at ‘sportswashing’—trying to use the glamour and prestige of top-tier sport as a public relations tool to distract from the country’s abysmal human rights record.

“Under the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, there’s been a sweeping human rights crackdown . . . There’s been a blatant whitewash over Jamal Khashoggi’s grisly murder, there are continuing concerns over Saudi hacking, and the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen has a bloody record of launching indiscriminate attacks on homes and hospitals,” the statement from Amnesty International continues.



La Liga Chief Claims Saudi Arabia Is Using Sports to ‘Whitewash’ Reputation

LONDON — In European soccer’s relentless search for growth and new revenues, Spain’s La Liga has been among the most aggressive of the continent’s top leagues.

Under a plan hatched and pressed by its chief executive, Javier Tebas, La Liga has planted its flag across the globe, opening offices in far-flung cities — not just obvious markets like New York and China, but also in Belgium and Singapore and South Africa, among others — in a bid to scoop up new fans and television and sponsorship dollars.

Tebas has even gone to court in the United States in an effort to hold a league game outside Spain. But there is one red line Tebas said that he is unwilling to cross: La Liga and its teams should not, he argued, be playing matches in Saudi Arabia.

To Tebas, the kingdom, despite its high-profile campaign to rebrand itself as a modern and tolerant society led by a youthful crown prince, should not be permitted to use international sporting events to mask its record of human rights abuses.


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