A spot of morality creeps under the door, restart nostart, and Arsenal’s signing

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Does Untold have an impact?   OK we seem to have persuaded a few journalists to lay off the use of “reportedly” since we told them the real meaning of the word.  But really?

“Reportedly” was, of course, a trivial matter, but an amusing one.  But what about noticing the total lack of human rights in Saudi Arabia – the country behind the bid to buy Newcastle?

And of course I don’t look at every newspaper each day, but from my general flip through what is being said, until yesterday I didn’t see anything linking the sale of Newcastle to Saudi Arabia with wholesale human rights abuses.  We’ve had protests about the 2022 world cup in Qatar, but they have been swept aside by football journalists eager for an event that allows them more than ever to report without thinking.

And we had the protests about Saudi involvement with the pirate TV station BeOutQ which has been noted by our esteemed scribblers.   (Copyright obviously more important than human rights therefore).

But now, although the journalists of our national press have not exactly risen up as one to condemn Saudi Arabia as a barbaric backward repressive oligarchy where human rights are against the religious code, they have noticed that Hatice Cengiz, fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has urged fans to “Slam shut the door on this offensive deal.”

OK yes, that’s fair enough and I go along with that.  But it is interesting that what made the journalists pick up the story, and what made the editors publish it, is not the endless daily torture of everyday people in Saudi Arabia, but the murder of a single journalist.  One is too many of course, but journalist supporting journalist, rather than the mass population.  Well I never.

Journalists are important, I agree, because they do reveal what is going on in the world, but in England their reportage has declined dramatically, as I think was shown in the What foreign journalists think of the missing ethics of their English counterparts article.

So an interesting move, and doubly so because CNN Business is now reporting that “Saudi Arabia is taking drastic steps to shore up its finances after the oil price crash and the coronavirus pandemic upended the economy and threatened Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s grand plan to reduce its dependence on crude exports.”

It was Bin Salman who set up the Public Investment Fund with the aim of diversifying Saudi Arabian economic interests – and it is this fund that is behind the purchase of Newcastle United.

Part of the Saudi problem is that few companies from outside Saudi Arabia want to invest in Saudi Arabia.  In an attempt to overcome this little local difficulty “the government clawed back $107 billion from 381 wealthy Saudis, many of whom were arrested and held at the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh starting in 2017. Foreign direct investment remains at only a quarter of its level a decade ago,” according to a report from CNN.

In the end it might be the economic collapse that will save Newcastle from the Saudis.  It is just a shame that the media, so excited about a royal court case in Switzerland, are never excited by the monarchy in Saudi Arabia and all of its evil doings.

But let us turn from what the media ought to be considering to what it is considering this fine morning, and seek some amusement in the Daily Mail.

They have the headline on their web site “EXCLUSIVE Friday Night Football set to kick off TV bonanza on opening weekend of Premier League’s return in June with ALL 10 games to be televised LIVE and Tottenham v Man United favourite for curtain-raiser”.

But they also have the headline “Premier League stars will have to ‘opt-in’ for a return to training next week as UK Sport admit resuming professional sport is a ‘personal choice’ for players after releasing new safety guidelines,” which adds a shade of doubt.

And the even gloomier headline, “Project Restart in limbo after two-hour call with Premier League captains – where Mark Noble and Troy Deeney were particularly vocal – with players near the top of the league said to be ‘more relaxed’ about hygiene concerns.”

Well, I’m sure someone knows what is going on.  Let’s try the blogs…  These were the most-read stories at 0720 BST…

  • Arsenal fans are convinced that one of their stars is about to sign a new contract (CaughtOffside)
  • The Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang solution to save Mikel Arteta and Arsenal millions in the long run (Football.London)

  • Arteta keen on signing 25-year-old French star – (Media Referee)

  • Barcelona will consider swap deal or loan for Arsenal target (Daily Cannon)

  • Icardi to Arsenal Rumors Heat Up After Son Photographed in Gunners Kit (PSG Talk)

Makes you think.