Recently, press reports spread about the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s attempt to buy an Italian club in the Premier League after it managed to acquire Newcastle United in a deal worth about 300 million pounds, and it was rejected by human rights and global criticism.
According to Italian journalist Alfredo Pedola, the fund is currently in talks with the Italian club Fiorentina, or what is known as “Viola”, which is owned by the American businessman of Italian descent, Rococommisso, who bought the club in 2019.
These conversations are among Saudi Arabia’s attempts at what is known as “sports washing”, which are attempts that tyrannical regimes do in order to whitewash their brutal record in the field of human rights, especially the Saudi regime, which has a bloody record full of violations, brutal crimes and repressive practices against opponents at home and war crimes against civilians in Yemen.
Last month, a consortium led by the Saudi Public Investment Fund succeeded in acquiring the English Newcastle, which became 80% owned by the fund headed by Mohammed bin Salman, while other investors share the rest.
The “Together for Justice” team, demand the management of the Italian League and its officials to stand against all Saudi attempts to whitewash its brutal record and stand to prevent the fund’s acquisition of the Italian club.
We stress that the success of such a deal will have a bad impact on the reputation and integrity of the game, and allowing war criminals whose hands are stained with the blood of innocents, and their prisons are filled with thousands of political opponents, and allowing them to be one of them and control the fate of a popular game like football.
We urge Italian football fans in general, and Fiorentina fans in particular, not to be deceived by Gulf funds, which are cut from the money of the Saudi people who are suffering from austerity and a severe economic crisis, and to reject the deal aimed at covering up the crimes of the Saudi regime and helping its officials to escape punishment and accountability for any crime they committed against innocents at home and abroad.
We hope that a clear message will be sent to the Saudi regime that cooperation with it is conditional on ensuring the improvement of human rights conditions, ending all repressive policies against opponents, and releasing all political detainees in the Saudi prisons.
A Message to the Italian League: Beware That Your Game Be Tarnished with the Blood of Innocents!