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⏳Friday Fix: Saudi 'sportswashing'?

⏳Friday Fix: Saudi 'sportswashing'?

Morning all,

Spain, Ireland, Germany, Saudi Arabia and even Newcastle - we've gone around the world and back, so you don't have to!

Happy Friday,

Your Fixers


Newcastle United Football Club has been bought for £305m by Saudi-led consortium, bringing an end to Mike Ashley's ownership of the club. The deal has made headlines and sparked debate, despite the club saying they received "legally binding assurances" the club would not be run by the Saudi state.

What do you mean? As BBC Sport noted, Saudi Arabia's controversial crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is a chairman at PIF - the fund paying for 80% of the deal.

Sportswashing? Critics have accused the deal of distracting from Saudi Arabia's human rights record. Amnesty International UK has called for changes to football ownership rules.

In Spain, there has been outrage after a woman's medical reports included a line saying her "current illness" was "homosexuality".

According to The Guardian, the comment was written after the 19-year-old woman visited a gynaecologist because of a menstrual condition.

Did you know? Until 1990, the World Health Organisation had homosexuality listed as a mental disorder.

In Germany, the leader of the CDU has signalled he is prepared to step down after the party's disastrous results in the recent election. Armin Laschet, who was  appointed as Merkel's successor, did not elaborate on how or when he might resign, but did say "if it works better with other people then that's fine".  

Remember: The CDU - a party that has led Germany for 52 of the last 72 years - just suffered their worst national results in history. It paved the way for coalition talks led by the centre-left SPD party, that are still ongoing.


As expected, the Irish government has agreed to join an international commitment to a corporation tax rate of 15% from 2023. That's the headline, here's what you need to know;

Not Irish and don't care? Well, it's actually an international story. It has joined 140 other countries in an OECD-led effort to have a common rate so that big multinationals will find it harder to avoid paying tax.

Back to Ireland: The 15% rate will only apply to companies with an annual turnover of more than €750m. According to The Financial Times, that will apply to 1,556 companies in Ireland, who employ about a half a million people.

Calculating the cost: It could mean lost revenue of up to €2bn, but there was relatively broad support for it considering the alternative was the risk of being seen as a tax haven.  

Important context here: While Ireland has agreed to the deal, the EU cannot join until all 27 member states sign on. Estonia and Hungary are yet to do so. The OECD is expected to unveil the agreement in Paris later today.


Spanish prosecutors are expected to announce an end to investigations into the country's former king, Juan Carlos, in the coming weeks.

According to a report in El País, three investigations will be shelved. The former king - who abdicated in 2014 and went into exile last year - has been marred by numerous allegations of corruption.  

Worth noting: This move doesn't mean investigators concluded Juan Carlos did not do some of the things he was accused of. As the report points out, some of the alleged crimes have exceeded the statute of limitations. Others relate to pre 2014, when as king Juan Carlos had immunity from prosecution.

*It makes for a fascinating read.



Ahead of the release of new music next week, Adele has done her first interview with a journalist since 2016. She tells Vogue the first single, Easy on Me, was her way of explaining to her son why she choose to divorce his father. She also confirms her new relationship with sports agent Rich Paul, and speaks of the exercise addiction that prompted her weight loss.

It is the first time ever Vogue and Vogue UK have had the same person on the cover.

*Here is a link to the full article, it is quite a lengthy read.


TIME magazine's latest front page has gone a bit viral online. The irony? You can read the article by signing in... via Facebook.

On this topic, there's actually a very thought-provoking piece in The Economist;

"Reports highlighted internal research showing that Instagram...makes one in five American teenagers feel worse about themselves. They paid less attention to the finding that Instagram makes twice as many feel better about themselves... the firm has half a point when it says that the hysterical reaction to unsurprising findings will lead companies to conclude that it is safer not to do such research at all."


Cheers to YOU! A big thank you from #TeamNewsFix for all your help in our successful relaunch. Here's a little look behind the scenes this week.