Fulham owner takes aim at Saudi transfers: 'You can get away with anything, including murder'

Fulham owner takes aim at Saudi transfers: 'You can get away with anything, including murder'
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The owner of Fulham Football Club’s owner has slammed the Saudi Arabian regime for throwing money at buying some of the world’s top footballers.

Tony Khan, whose family bought the club in 2013 and who is also vice chairman, said: “It's amazing. I think, if you have enough money, you can get away with anything, including murder, and try to sign up all the top players in the world.

“Certainly, they have approached a lot of great players. I'm very interested to see where this goes. For us, we’re definitely committed to keeping our top stars.

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“We have a great team, we had a great season, one of the best seasons in the history of Fulham, and I'm really excited about this upcoming season.”

Fulham owner, GM Tony Khan talks Transfer Day and the Jaguars' reshaped roster | NBC Sports

In 2018 Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist, was assassinated. He entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, but never came back out. US intelligence agencies concluded in 2021 that the Saudi government was behind the killing.

Since then, oil-rich Saudi Arabia has cranked up the spending on football, partly via its state investment vehicle, the Public Investment Fund, which has taken over four clubs.

Human rights groups including Grant Liberty have described the new strategy as “sportswashing”, a bid to use global sport to launder its reputation as the kingdom seeks to increase its soft power abroad.

Players including Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kanté, Ruben Neves and Jordan Henderson have agreed to move to the Saudi league in the last year, with the latter four leaving as part of a flurry of transfers into the country at the end of this football season.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has dipped into other sports too. The country partnered with WWE (Khan owns rival wrestling company AEW) for multiple shows last year, carried out an audacious takeover of the governing body of golf by launching the new LIV tour, and has hosted major Formula One events.

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