It had to be Newcastle, whose potential takeover has brought such differing views because it is 80% funded by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund.
Because of the Saudi’s terrible human rights record, Amnesty International are dead against it.
Some Premier League clubs are also against it, but probably because they don’t want to see another top club competing seriously for those four Champions League places every year.
And beIn Media Group based in Qatar, say their feeds for the Premier League games are being pirated by a Saudi Arabian station beoutQ, which they have known about for over a year now.
That last concern seems to be the one that has caused the Premier League a problem in their ongoing owners’ and directors’ tests.
There is nothing in the tests that mention anything about piracy of the Premier League games.
The current tests are whether the would-be buyers have a criminal background and stuff like that – as it befits a fit and proper person test – the former name of the tests for any would-be owners of a Premier League club.
There’s news today in the Chronicle that Sky Sports pundit Neville hosted an impromptu question and answer session on Twitter on Saturday morning and here’s Gary’s opinion about the takeover:
We either adopt a policy of working with nations to improve policies we don’t like or we alienate them until they change to our way. ( we aren’t perfect ) .
I prefer to collaborate and set targets where they change their ways than not communicate / deal with and not impact them https://t.co/zrVoQcOYdL
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) May 9, 2020
This reminds us a bit of how politics and sports collided over 40 years ago.
It was when then US President Jimmy Carter withdrew the US team from the Moscow 1980 summer Olympic Games as a protest for the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan and refusing to withdraw by a specific date.
That did very little, other than to prevent the American athletes from competing at an Olympic Games and was, of course, all about politics.
We hope politics and something Newcastle (the club and the City and our fans) have nothing to do with, the Saudi’s terrible human rights record, will not negatively impact the takeover of Newcastle United.
But you never know.