A Sun “exclusive” claims that Sheffield United owner, Prince Abdullah, could be jailed if they beat Newcastle United next time they meet.
As BBC Sport reports, a group of investors are in the process of a takeover at Newcastle. This group is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Yorkshire businesswoman, Amanda Staveley. is the group’s leader. Yet her firm, PCP Capital Partners, will only hold a 10 percent stake in the club. A further 10 percent comes from British property investors, the Reuben Brothers. The PIF will make up the other 80 percent.
So how does this relate to the Blades? Well, the PIF – one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world – are headed by the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. He is the cousin of Prince Abdullah.
Why could the Sheffield United owner be jailed?
The story continues to claim that the Blades owner could have problems if the proposed takeover at St James’ Park is completed.
Amnesty International have already criticised the potential deal and Saudi Arabia’s attempts to use sport to whitewash their human rights record.
The Sun “exclusive” then reveals that its basis is a letter from PR firm, Media House International. It turns out they have been employed by former United owner, Kevin McCabe.
McCabe lost a High Court battle to Prince Abdullah in January. He was forced to sell his 50 percent stake in the club to the Saudi Prince for £5m.
McCabe is now using this PR firm to discredit the suitability of the Prince to run the Blades. Vice-chairman, Yusuf Giansiracusa, is also under scrutiny. They have contacted Amnesty International and the MP for Sheffield South East, Clive Betts.
The Sun have apparently acquired a letter sent to Betts by Media House chief Jack Irvine. It reads: “How does someone such as Prince Abdullah run Sheffield United without Saudi influence, now that his much more important cousins will be running a rival team?
“I would not imagine that Newcastle losing to Sheffield would be an event taken lightly given Saudi Arabia’s track record for knee-jerk imprisonments of various Royal Family members.”
This is a spurious link to say the least. Especially as there have been no concerns about Prince Abdullah and his ownership of United.
The entire story is based on an unsubstantiated claim from a PR firm employed by McCabe and therefore with a clear agenda. It is not something that should concern Blades fans.