BeIN sports’ Senior Football Anchor and former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys has questioned Newcastle United’s proposed £300 million takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on moral grounds, and he wants the club to reconsider accepting the proposal.
Magpies owner Mike Ashley has agreed to sell Newcastle for £300 million, and the Premier League is currently carrying out its fit and proper persons’ test.
The takeover has been tipped to go through as none of the past attempts to buy the club ever got to this stage.
Given Saudi’s human rights records and links with piracy, Amnesty International and BeIN sports have both written to the Premier League to block PIF’s attempt to own Newcastle, and Keys has also voiced his concerns.
“I wish it wasn’t Newcastle United that the Saudis want to buy. We’ve been talking a lot about morality and resetting the button, and when we all come back why there’s a good reason we can all expect football to be better,” he said on The Keys and Grey Show.
“Barney Ronay in the Guardian was spot on. Andy Dunn in the Mirror, absolutely spot on. Are we to look away and forget everything? Now is there an argument that it is nobody’s business how Saudi Arabia does it’s business domestically? There is an argument that it is nobody’s business what Saudi Arabia does domestically. I get that. We should never try and impose western cultures and principles upon them, it is up to them how they run their country.
“But if you are a host county and are inviting in then I think you have a right to say: ‘Look, here are the rules.’ The reason I’m having difficulty with this is that, if it were to go through – and I’m still not sure it will – we at Bein Sports have spent the last two years fighting Saudi Arabia who have been broadcasting our sports rights illegally (through) a company called BeoutQ. It has cost this company, Bein Sports, millions. It cost 400 of our colleagues their jobs.”
— Big Cel (@BigCel5) April 21, 2020
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker has reacted thus to Keys’ concerns on Twitter:
These times. https://t.co/m09pJ1IMaf
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 22, 2020
It will be interesting to see how the Premier League responds to Amnesty International’s and BeIN Sports’ letters, but it does seem the takeover will go through given how things have gone in recent weeks, and Newcastle fans will be more than glad to finally see the end of Ashley’s 13-year ownership.