The fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has urged the Premier League to block the takeover of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia.
Hatice Cengiz has asked the English Premier League (EPL) to stop the $368m takeover of Newcastle United Football Club by a Saudi Arabian sovereign fund.
In her letter, which she shared on Twitter, Cengiz wrote: “The Premier League should not allow someone like 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.
“Doing otherwise will greatly stain the reputation of the Premiere League and the UK.
“Football cannot be allowed to be part of this cover-up.”
With a consortium from the Gulf nation edging closer to purchasing the Premier League club in a £300 million ($374m) deal, Hatice Cengiz – via her solicitors – sent a letter to the competition’s governing body asking that it takes the “right, proper and lawful action” to stop the takeover because of the alleged “cover-up” regarding Khashoggi’s death in 2018.
Khashoggi, a dissident Saudi columnist, was killed in 2018 inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Turkey.
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 US Central Intelligence Agency has said that it believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed Khashoggi’s murder.
However, the judgement was criticised by Amnesty International as a “whitewash” that avoided implicating Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Khashoggi’s former partner has attempted to intervene in an effort to draw attention to allegations against the state.
Newcastle were 13th in the Premier League when football was suspended indefinitely amid the coronavirus pandemic
Mike Ashley has owned Newcastle since 2007 and put the club up for sale in 2017. The proposed Saudi takeover is thought to be worth some £300 million.
“Ms Cengiz urges you and the board of the Premier League to take all necessary steps to prevent this takeover from happening,” the letter addressed to Premier League chief Richard Masters read.
“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 fiance.
“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.”