A Saudi Arabia-backed consortium has ended its interest in taking over English Premier League side Newcastle United, Sky Sports reported Thursday.
The group, which included Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund PIF, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers, was reported to have made a 300 million pounds ($391.74 million) bid to buy United from British businessman Mike Ashley.
“With a deep appreciation for the Newcastle community and the significance of its football club, we have come to the decision to withdraw our interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club,” the group said in a statement to Sky Sports.
PIF is overseen by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who human rights groups say has been involved in a “sweeping crackdown on human rights,” including the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Previously, the English Premier League has been asked by human rights activists to consider blocking the Saudi attempt to buy Newcastle United.