In a US court document, Yasir al-Rumayyan, the chairman of Newcastle, was called “a sitting minister of the Saudi government.” This made Premier League clubs very angry. Amnesty International has asked the league to look again at the promises made by Newcastle’s owners that the Saudi government would not be in charge of the club.
The Guardian knows that the clubs are upset about the situation and don’t want to let it go. The document that was filed this week has brought up new questions about how far apart the Saudi government and the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is run by Rumayyan, are.
Also, brief filed in a court case involving the PGA Tour and LIV Golf describes the PIF as “a sovereign instrumentality of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” and Rumayyan as “a sitting minister of the Saudi government”. The Premier League gave the PIF permission to take over Newcastle in October 2021 after getting “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi government would not be in charge of the club.
Newcastle ownership twist in US court documents angers Premier League clubs
Now the human rights group Amnesty International is calling on the league to ask new questions of Newcastle’s owners. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the Saudi prime minister, is in charge of the PIF. The website for the fund says that eight of the nine board members of the PIF are either ministers or royal advisers. Rumayyan is the only person who is not a minister, but these court documents also call him a minister. The Premier League and Newcastle declined to comment.
In November 2021, Richard Masters, the chief executive of the league, told the BBC that if his organization found proof that the state was involved in running the club, “we can remove the consortium as owners of the club.” The PIF has also chosen not to say anything. It is thought to have told the Premier League in writing that the government would not have any control over the club.
In the LIV Golf case, the PIF is fighting an order to turn over documents and testify. Sources close to the Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani say that he is bidding on Manchester United on his own, without help from the Qatari government, sovereign wealth funds, or other people.
“It was always stretching credulity to breaking point to imagine that the Saudi state wasn’t directing the buyout of Newcastle with the ultimate aim of using the club as a component in its wider sports washing efforts,” Peter Frankental, Amnesty UK’s economic affairs director, said.
“There’s an unmistakable irony in the sovereign wealth fund declaration emerging in a dispute about another arm of Saudi Arabia’s growing sports empire. ut the simple fact is that Saudi sport-swashing is affecting numerous sports and governing bodies need to respond to it far more effectively.