On 6th  April, The Athletic published an article revealing the role played by Boris Johnson's government in the takeover of Newcastle United.

Emails obtained by The Athletic appear to show that the Prime Minister's office, the Foreign Office, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) were all involved in lobbying the Premier League to approve the takeover.

The article implies that our football club has been used by the government in an attempt to safeguard $30 billion of investment promised by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

One notable email from a Foreign Office address highlighted that Hatice Cengiz, the bereaved fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi had "spoken out" in opposition to the takeover. The Foreign Office source appeared to discuss attempting to limit any negative publicity that resulted from her interview.

Cengiz had warned that: "the standing of English football would be tarnished by your connection with those who commit the most appalling crimes and then seek to whitewash them, and who seek to use English football as a way of improving their image and hiding their transgressions."

Unfortunately, Hatice Cengiz's warning has proven to be correct, and the reputation of Newcastle United has been badly damaged by the takeover - our club and city are now inextricably linked to one of the most oppressive and abusive states in the world. 

The Athletic article concludes that "the British government kept writing about the importance of Premier League independence while constantly appearing to push the boundaries."

This appears to contradict former Prime Minister Boris Johnson's previous comments on the matter. He had told Parliament that "the government was not involved at any point in the takeover talks on the sale of Newcastle United."

In July 2021, Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah asked Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for DCMS for "greater transparency" and "fair and open decision making". 

She had already presented a petition to Parliament in September 2020 demanding greater transparency from the Premier League in relation to the takeover. At that point more than 80 MPs across the country had appealed for "transparency", including the following North East Labour MPs:

Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)
Kate Osbourne (Labour - Jarrow)
Chi Onwurah (Labour - Newcastle Central)
Sharon Hodgson (Labour - Washington and Sunderland West)
Liz Twist (Labour - Blaydon)
Alex Cunningham (Labour - Stockton North)
Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour - South Shields)
Catherine McKinnel (Labour - Newcastle upon Tyne North)
Ian Lavery (Labour - Wansbeck)
Mary Kelly Foy (Labour - City of Durham)
Mary Glindon (Labour - North Tyneside)
Kevan Jones (Labour - North Durham)
Alan Campbell (Labour - Tynemouth)

The deal now looks murkier than ever. North East Labour MPs cannot remain silent now that it has been revealed that Tory corruption may have played a role in delivering our football club into the hands of the Saudi regime.

We ask these MPs to renew their calls for transparency regarding the takeover, and to hold the government to account for assisting a barbaric regime to tarnish one of the North East's most recognized social institutions.



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