NEWCASTLE fans who celebrated the club’s £305m takeover by wearing Saudi-style head-dresses were described as ‘sick numpties’ by an MP.
The SNP’s John Nicholson, a long-standing critic of the Saudi regime, said he suspected the fiancee of murdered dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi would have been left devastated by the scenes.
Nicholson told the DCMS select committee: “There were Newcastle United supporters who just didn’t care what Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuse was.
“I’m trying to imagine what it must be like to be Jamal Khashoggi’s widow when her husband has been chopped up and murdered on the instructions of the ruler of Saudi Arabia and she sees numpties dancing around in cod-Arabic head-dresses outside Newcastle United.
“On a personal basis for her, that must be heart-rending.
“There was nobody who could have taken over that club, no matter their level of evil, that would have resulted in anything other than celebrations for these Newcastle supporters.
“That’s a kind of sickness at the heart of football, isn’t it?”
Earlier in the hearing, BBC director of sport Barbara Slater came under pressure over Alan Shearer’s responses to the takeover.
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Slater, though, maintained: “Alan Shearer has an extraordinary record with that club.
“He didn’t shy away from the fact that there are human rights issues and acknowledged them but spoke as a fan of the club, not an apologist.
“It was about what the potential of more investment would mean for the success of the club.
“The BBC told the story in the round.”
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