Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz has asked the Premier League to stop the takeover of Newcastle United Football Club by the Saudi Arabian sovereign fund.
Cengiz’s lawyers penned a letter to the Premier League CEO and Board to prevent the takeover “because there should be no place in English
Football for those credibly accused of atrocities and murder.”
“Ms. Cengiz urges you and the board of the Premier League to take all necessary steps to prevent this takeover from happening. It is undoubtedly the right, proper and lawful action for you and the Premier League to take especially in light of the ruthless killing of Ms Cengiz’s fiancé,” the lawyers said in the letter shared by Cengiz on April 28.
“There should be no place in the Premier League, and English football, for anyone involved in such abhorrent acts. It would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Premier League Chairmen’s Charter and the Rules of the Premier League, and the fundamental and honourable principles upon
which they are based,” they added.
Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018.
After initially saying he had left the consulate alive, weeks later, the Saudi administration admitted he was killed there, blaming a rogue group of Saudi operatives.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund, led by Mohammed bin Salman, bid some £300 million ($374 million) to take over Newcastle. If the transaction is approved, the fund will own 80% of the club.
Cengiz also urged the takeover to be blocked last week.
“UK authorities and The Premier League should not allow someone like [Saudi Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Salman, who has yet to face any accountability for the murder of my late fiancé, to be so involved in sports in the UK,” Cengiz said in the letter she shared on Twitter on April 24.
“Doing otherwise will greatly stain the reputation of the Premiere League and the UK,” she added.
Saying that international investigations concluded that Bin Salman was the one who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, Cengiz noted that Bin Salman is trying to repair his reputation.
“Mohammed bin Salman is strategically using international sports to repair his badly damaged reputation after the murder of Jamal. Every independent investigation, including the UN and the CIA, concluded that Bin Salman ordered Jamal’s murder,” she said.
Also last week, the UK director of Amnesty International, Kate Allen, demanded that the takeover be prevented in a letter to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.
Asking why a Saudi fund would want to buy an English football club, her letter said “unless the Premier League pauses and looks seriously at the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, it risks becoming a patsy – a willing dupe of those trying to sportswash their abysmal human rights record.”
“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,” she added.