New owners, new look. Newcastle United has been largely owned by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund since late 2021. Now that: in the coming season, the team will play with an away jersey that looks suspiciously similar to a Saudi national jersey - the fans are outraged.
Newcastle United football fans protest the English Premier League club's alleged new away kit. Accordingly, the white and green shirt is strikingly similar to that of the national team of Saudi Arabia. Leaked pictures of the shirt are circulating on the Internet, which the English "Daily Mail" described as genuine based on its own information. The jersey is white, with a green and white collar, a green stripe down the sleeves and the club's logo is also green and white.
"Tell me this isn't true. Just when we've found a way to live with reality something like this comes along to remind us. Disgusting," one fan tweeted. Another wrote, "Sorry but that sucks. Just because we belong to them doesn't mean we should look like them." On the other hand, there was also a lot of encouragement. In previous years, the away kits had been black, blue or grey.
Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, chairs the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which holds an 80 percent majority stake in Newcastle. He is heavily criticized internationally for serious human rights violations in his country.
The Premier League had agreed to the takeover after months of negotiations because they did not believe the club was under Saudi Arabian control - which is actually not the case. The PIF is one of the most important means for Crown Prince Mohammed to consolidate his power in the country and internationally. Amnesty International also considers the assurances about an alleged separation from the Saudi state to be waste.