– Not caught with me – VG

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HAD TO ANSWER: Sander Berge (right) together with national team manager Ståle Solbakken at the press conference the day before the Slovenia match in LjubljanaPhoto: Bjorn Steinar Delebekk / VG

LJUBLJANA (VG) National team player Sander Berge (24) was one of the Sheffield United players who featured in the photo accompanying the club’s digital marking of Saudi Arabia’s national day. The player says that he did not know.

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– I haven’t realized that. I have traveled today to Slovenia, trained well and am ready for the fight. There are less than 24 hours until a very important match for us. I choose to keep the focus on that, says Sander Berge to VG at a press conference at Stadion Stožice in Ljubljana before Saturday’s Nations League meeting between Slovenia and Norway.

Berge’s club Sheffield United is owned by the Saudi Arabian prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. He bought 50 percent of the club in 2013 before gaining full control when he won a court case in 2019 against Kevin McCabe, the man who owned the other half.

Ownership is surely the background to Sheffield United’s Twitter post on Friday:

The prince’s victory in court and thus the takeover occurred a few months before Berge was bought by the then Premier League club from Belgian Gent in January 2020. Since then, Sheffield United have moved down to the Championship, but after a good start to the season they can be promoted to England’s ruling top division again .

At least they do that with Saudi Arabian ownership. The human rights organization Amnesty has for a long time been critical of the regime in the oil state from the Middle East.

“It is literally dangerous to criticize the authorities in Saudi Arabia. A number of critics and human rights activists and others have been arrested and many have been prosecuted and sentenced as terrorists to many years in prison. Several have been sentenced to death,” Amnesty writes about Saudi Arabia on its website.

The Premier League club Newcastle also has owners from Saudi Arabia, where the country’s state investment fund has a majority share.

Earlier at this national team meeting, Manchester City star Erling Braut Haaland was asked about his Abu Dhabi-owned employer:

The article is in Norwegian

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