Si King has spoken about his “moral dilemma” over the Saudi takeover of Newcastle United, saying it’s about “washing reputations”
The takeover of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has left ardent fan Si King with a “moral dilemma”.
The 54-year-old Hairy Bikers star has concerns over the involvement of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with PIF. which now owns 80 per cent of the Premier League club.
PIF has also invested in the likes of Disney, Uber, Facebook and Starbucks before splashing out £300 million on Newcastle, much to the delight of many of the club’s supporters.
Si has a problem with Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights and has said that the takeover is about “washing reputations”.
Speaking to Kait Borsay on Times Radio, the lifelong Newcastle fan said: “ There’s a little bit of a moral dilemma for me, I have to say, because we’ve gone from one thing to something else entirely.
“And the regime that’s taken over our football club hasn’t got the best track record in civil rights.”
The Hairy Biker believes that despite these concerns, the takeover will ultimately be good for the region.
Speaking further about the new money coming into the club, Si said: “”It’ll be great for the city. Because Newcastle United and St. James’s Park is the city.
“I don’t mean any disrespect, but football in the northeast, whether it be Newcastle or Sunderland, it’s a religion. We love it. And it’s still based in our psyche and our communities.
“What frustrates me is that we are constantly compromised about money and it’s an utter shame. It’s a shame and it will be great for the city and we may well be the next Chelsea because we’ve got millions and millions and millions of pounds.”
Si said that any concerns might be relieved when the club start winning games on a regular basis.
When host Kait asked: “Will it make you feel uncomfortable when these big signings start arriving and Newcastle start winning?”
Si replied: “No I’ll be really happy about it! We’ve all suffered for flaming years and it’ll be like ‘yes, get in!’, but you’ve asked me an honest question and I’m giving you an honest answer, that I have a big moral dilemma going on.
“Because corporate organisations will distance themselves as and when they see fit. It’s about washing reputations I think.”
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