HomePakistani AmericanTony Khan says Saudi PIF could 'get away with anything, including murder'

Tony Khan says Saudi PIF could ‘get away with anything, including murder’

Pakistani American football, soccer and wrestling executive Antony “Tony” Rafiq Khan is accusing Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) of literally getting away with murder as it grows its professional sporting portfolio.

According to London World, Khan told The Dan le Betard show, “It’s amazing and 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.”

Khan is the son of billionaire Pakistani American businessman and sports owner Shahid Rafiq Khan. Shadid Khan became a billionaire as the owner of Flex-N-Gate, a supplier of automobile components, and has begun investing his fortune in international sports ownership. He is the wealthiest person of Pakistani origin in the world, according to Forbes.

Both Khans are involved in owning and running the Jacksonville Jaguars in the National Football League (NFL), Fulham F.C. in the English Premier League and pro wrestling promotion company All Elite Wrestling.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF)—Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund—recently raised furor in professional sports with the announcement that the PIF-funded LIV Golf tour would merge with PGA Tour, ending a war of lawsuits and public relations between the two that has been ongoing since LIV Golf was announced in 2019.

Considering his involvement in Fulham Football Club, Khan’s criticism of the PIF may be motivated by many of European soccer’s top players being attracted to the Saudi Pro League through lucrative contracts. Stars including Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante have joined Saudi clubs in the past year, according to London World.

Khan didn’t clarify which specific allegation against the Saudi government underlines his accusation, but he could be referring to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. According to separate investigations by the CIA and The New York Times, Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment was premeditated and likely ordered by Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of the Saudi Arabia, to whom many of the murderers were closely connected. The Saudi government disputes this.

According to Fan Nation, the NFL has spoken openly about future Saudi involvement in the league’s ownership. The NFL has rules that generally prohibit foreign ownership, but that hasn’t stopped fears that with enough money, the country could buy a team anyways. The Saudi PIF has faced numerous accusations of “sportswashing” the monarchy’s reputation internationally—using success in professional sports to draw attention away from criticism of its domestic and foreign policies, especially in relation to human rights.

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