Keir Starmer has said it is not for him to object to Saudi Arabia’s acquisition of Newcastle United, arguing that the deal should be a matter for an independent regulator.
The Labor leader said fans were “delighted to see Mike Ashley’s back” after the oil-rich country’s sovereign wealth fund led to a £300m takeover deal for the football club.
Asked whether the deal should go ahead amid concerns about human rights, Sir Keir said he was “concerned” but would not say he thought it should be blocked.
“It is not for me as the leader of the opposition who should own which football club. It is up to an independent regulator. That is the plan we are putting forward,” he said.
Repeatedly stressing what he thought, he told BBC Breakfast: “I think an independent regulator would look very carefully … an appropriate and appropriate takeover.”
Sir Keir said Conservative MP Tracy Crouch was currently reviewing the football regime and was “respected throughout the House”.
The acquisition has been criticized by human rights group Amnesty International for allegedly allowing Saudi Arabia to “sportwash its sinister human rights record with the glamor of top-fighting football”.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund, which is controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reinvests the country’s oil revenues around the world.
In a statement, the Premier League said: “All parties have agreed that agreement is necessary to end the long uncertainty for fans regarding club ownership.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /