Premier League To Ban Human Rights Abusers?

Written by Peter Sagar

I was interested to read last week that the Premier League is extending its rules to prevent those who abuse human rights from owning Premier League football clubs. Given that the majority owners of Newcastle United are the Saudi PIF, which is connected to Mohmmad bin Salman and the Saud regime, it seems to me that this creates a very interesting situation for Newcastle United.

It is well documented that the Saudi regime is among the worst human rights abusers in the world today.  It has been noted that the regime has targeted individuals for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association. Indeed, the Specialized Criminal Court tried and sentenced to lengthy prison terms individuals following grossly unfair trials for their peaceful expression or association, or for forming community organizations.

Additionally, Human Rights defenders are harassed in prison while facing arbitrary travel bans following their conditional release from prison. Far too often, courts  have resorted to the death penalty following grossly unfair trials, including in cases of individuals who were children at the time of the alleged crime, and people have been executed for a wide range of crimes.

Moreover, thousands of residents have been subjected to forced evictions in the coastal city of Jeddah. Migrant workers have been exploited and abused under the sponsorship system and thousands have been arbitrarily detained in inhumane conditions, tortured and otherwise ill-treated. The country’s first Personal Status Law has come into effect, codifying male guardianship and discrimination against women.

Bearing all this in mind, one has to wonder exactly how the Saudi PIF will be able to remain as majority owners of Newcastle United given the new Premier League rules.


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