Sport

"It is not a lifeline" for Newcastle: Khashoggi's fiancee's letter to fans

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

03:06 13 May 2020


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The former fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has written to Newcastle fans urging them to oppose the proposed takeover of the club. 

The Tyneside club are on the verge of being sold to a consortium of Amanda Staveley, the Reuben Brothers and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

The latter is overseen by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

Hatice Cengiz was due to marry Jamal Khashoggi just days after his barbaric murder inside Istanbul's Saudi Consulate in October of 2018.

She's penned an open letter to Newcastle fans asking them to reject the potential involvement of the Saudi Crown Prince in their club.

"I know that many of you are tempted by his offer to get out of the dire situation that has crippled your club for so many years", Cengiz writes.

"But the Crown Prince is accused of ordering Jamal's murder."

In 2019, Bin Salman told CBS' 60 Minutes that he did not order the brutal death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi but did accept "full responsibility" for what he called a "heinous crime".

In her letter, Cengiz writes, "They are making this move not to help you and not with your best interests in mind, but solely to serve themselves."

Amnesty International have already pointed to the "serious questions that need to be addressed" regarding Saudi Arabia's appalling human rights record.

However, it appears the issue of television rights has a more substantial chance of halting a deal rather than the hacking of a journalist with a bonesaw.

Qatar-based broadcaster BeIN Sports has already written to Premier League clubs, highlighting the Saudi-led piracy of their English football coverage "through its backing of the huge-scale beoutQ pirate service".

It's reported that some clubs have voiced their concerns about the potential takeover based on commercial grounds tied to the Saudi piracy.

But Cengiz has reminded Newcastle fans that their "voice will be so very powerful".

She's called the potential deal "offensive", adding, "It is not a lifeline for your club, but rather the worst possible outcome for all of us decent and caring people."

You can read the full letter from Hatice Cengiz below:

Open Letter to the Fans of Newcastle United Football Club

I am Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of the late Jamal Khashoggi. Jamal was murdered in the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 in truly gruesome circumstances while I was waiting for him outside to return to me. We were planning to get married only a few days later.

I write to you at a crucial time in the history of your famous football club. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the absolute ruler of Saudi Arabia, is aiming to take over your club by offering a huge sum of money. I know that many of you are tempted by his offer to get out of the dire situation that has crippled your club for so many years. But the Crown Prince is accused of ordering Jamal's murder. All credible investigations have shown his responsibility. He has not been put on trial in his own country as he controls it with an iron fist.

My plea to you is to think whether accepting Mohammed bin Salman's offer is really the right way out of the despair for your club and City. How can it be when your club will be controlled by someone who should be tried for murder, as we would rightly expect for anyone accused of killing a loved one! We should also never forget that Jamal's murder is amongst many atrocities ordered by the Crown Prince and his inner circle. It is widely reported that they have imprisoned and tortured several opponents and women's rights campaigners, killed and maimed countless civilians in the Yemen war, and even persecuted the Crown Prince's own family members. This is who he really is, and it is certainly not what you want your club to be.

The Rules of the Premier League do not allow the Crown Prince to own and control your club. We must all ensure that these high standards are not trampled on. Please consider where this takeover could leave you in the months and years ahead as a club that could become a 'home' for those accused of murder and torture, and forever have to compete for football glory under that dark and ominous cloud. As I'm sure we can all agree, that should not be the legacy and destiny of Newcastle Football Club.

You as the loyal fans do have a big say in this. I implore you all to unite to protect your beloved club and City from the Crown Prince and those around him. They are making this move not to help you and not with your best interests in mind, but solely to serve themselves. Their hearts will not genuinely be in the club that means everything to you. I urge you to send this message loud and clear to the Premier League, to your club's management, to your City's leaders, and to the world. Your voice will be so very powerful.

We should not let the beautiful game of football be shamed by those who are not passionate for it, and who only seek to use it to hide their shocking deeds. Now is the moment to stand tall together for the game, your club, your City and your country in order to slam shut the door on this offensive deal. It is not a lifeline for your club, but rather the worst possible outcome for all of us decent and caring people.

Hatice Cengiz


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Amanda Staveley Hatice Cengiz Jamal Khashoggi Mike Ashley Newcastle United Saudi Arabia Sportswashing

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