The Premier League have agreed to a meeting with human rights organisation Amnesty UK regarding revising the owners’ and directors’ test amid Newcastle takeover worries.
It’s now been a few weeks since the dramatic takeover was announced earlier this month- sending shockwaves throughout all of football as the power dynamic in England now once again changes.
Despite the initial money worries that other clubs had once the PIF confirmed their 80 per cent majority stake of the Tyneside-based club, there have also been concerns over the alleged human rights abuses against Saudi Arabia.
Consequently, Amnesty UK boss Sacha Deshmukh had written to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters requesting a meeting to discuss proposed changes to the English top flight’s owners’ and directors’ test.
The result of this action has been successful, as the Premier League have now agreed to meet the aforementioned organisation to review the system in which new owners can take over any clubs now in the future.
After the Premier League confirmed it was willing to meet Amnesty International to discuss proposals for a revised human rights-compliant Owners’ and Directors’ test, Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s CEO, said:
“We’re obviously pleased that the Premier League is willing to talk about these proposals as a starting point for what we hope will be a process that leads to considerable strengthening of the rules on football governance.
“The current rules concerning who owns and runs English football clubs are woefully inadequate, with no bar on ownership for those complicit in acts of torture, slavery, human trafficking or even war crimes.
“The Saudi buyout of Newcastle United always looked like an attempt to sportswash Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record with the glamour and prestige of the Premier League and top-flight football.
“Under Mohammed bin Salman’s leadership , government critics and human rights defenders have been jailed, civilian deaths from Saudi bombing in Yemen have mounted inexorably, and the grotesque killing of Jamal Khashoggi has been subject to a whitewash.
“There is now huge disquiet over the cynical use of English football to sportswash human rights abuse.
“We’re keen to discuss with Richard Masters our ideas for a human rights-compliant Owners’ and Directors’ test which can help weed out unsuitable owners complicit in human rights violations, as well as reducing sportswashing and generally improving governance within the game.”
A section of Crystal Palace fans expressed their concerns over the Newcastle takeover with a banner-led protest when the two sides met last weekend in the league and played out a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park.
Initially, the deal appeared to have relied on assurances that the Saudi Arabian government would not be involved in the running of Newcastle United, despite Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – the majority purchasers of the club – being directly chaired and controlled by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Under Mohammed bin Salman’s leadership, Saudi Arabia has experienced a major human rights crackdown, with government critics and human rights defenders arrested – including prominent women’s rights activists – tortured and put on trial.
In October 2018, the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a killing which the UN has said was “overseen, planned and endorsed by high-level officials” of the Saudi state.
Alongside this incident, their views on homosexuality as highlighted well by The Athletic’s Adam Crafton in his most recent piece, coupled with how women are viewed in the country, have also raised concerns over their role at St James’ Park.
Nothing is likely to happen in terms of reversing the takeover as it is now completed but future changes that could come about due to this meeting could affect Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea in the future if one club were to try and forge a new ownership structure.
Source by Football London