The United Kingdom sports minister Nigel Huddleston has given the green light for the potential ownership of Chelsea by Saudi Arabian groups.
This is despite the nation’s poor human rights records.
“The UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is really important,” Huddleston said.
Chelsea’s current owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the British government for his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Abramovich has been accused of engaging and being involved in several illegal activities in order to gain his billionaire status – activities the British government were aware of before he bought the London club in 2003.
A report by the BBC indicated that Abramovich was implicated in the robbery of a diesel-filled train in 1992, purchasing an oil company via rigged auctions in 1995 and The Moscow kidnapping of a Chinese competitor in 2002.
Despite Abramovich’s apparent crimes, he was permitted to purchase Chelsea and has now put the club up for sale following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Chelsea is wary of allowing ownership from a politically sensitive region such as Saudi Arabia, but the British government said their relationship with the country is important.
“Saudi Arabia is an important partner of the UK in investment, intelligence and culture. We welcome Saudi Arabian investment,” Huddleston said.
“Many, many jobs in the UK are dependent on our relationship with the Saudis. We take the opportunity to talk frankly and openly with Saudi Arabia.”
The declaration of Saudi Arabia’s importance to the United Kingdom came as the minister was questioned as to whether Newcastle United should have been permitted to be purchased by Saudi Arabian owners.
The country has a poor human rights record, showcased most recently by a mass execution of 81 men in the country in a single day last Saturday.
As was the case with Abramovich nearly two decades ago, all investment avenues are welcome in the football world until their crimes become the focus of the world.
While Chelsea fans are overjoyed with the money potential Saudi Arabian owners bring in, the threat of its current situation taking place again in the future remains a possibility.
Image source: @GlobalSportMatters