Crystal Palace fans unveil banner protesting Saudi ownership of Newcastle 1 month ago

Crystal Palace fans unveil banner protesting Saudi ownership of Newcastle

Palace fans have sent a strong message about the takeover

Crystal Palace supporters unveiled a banner protesting against the Saudi ownership of Newcastle United prior to the teams' meeting at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

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The banner has been unveiled just weeks after the Premier League confirmed that Newcastle United had been sold, with a Saudi-backed consortium replacing Mike Ashley as the club's owners.

Many people were opposed to the prospect of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) becoming the Magpies' new owners - with a number of human rights issues linked to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The English top flight approved the deal after being given assurances that the PIF was separate to the Saudi state - despite the fact it is chaired by Bin Salman.

The banner takes aim at the Premier League's 'Owners and Directors' test, which - as quoted by the Premier League - "outlines requirements that would prohibit an individual from becoming an owner or director of a club."

It continues: "These include criminal convictions for a wide range of offences, a ban by a sporting or professional body, or breaches of certain key football regulations, such as match-fixing."

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Prior to kick-off, the 'Holmesdale Fanatics' - a group of Palace supporters - released a statement about the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle, explaining their stance against it.

The statement read: "The Saudi led takeover of Newcastle has rightly received widespread condemnation and anger. It is clear the P.I.F is a front for the tyrannical ruling Saudi regime and by endorsing this, the Premier League has made a mockery of its own 'Owners and Directors' test.

"The Premier League has chosen money over morals and in green lighting this deal, has done business with one of the world's most bloody and repressive regimes. A country controlled by fear where women are second class citizens, same-sex partnerships banned, journalists silenced, imprisoned or killed and 'dissidents' brutally persecuted now has a foothold in our national game.

"To give the 'thumbs up' to this deal at a time when the Premier League is promoting the women's game and inclusive initiatives such as rainbow armbands, shows the total hypocrisy at play and demonstrates the League's soulless agenda where profits trump all.

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"Newcastle, as a team, is now being used to sportswash the blood from the hands of a corrupt governance and deluded supporters should consider that reality when singing of 'getting their club back'. We are lucky to live in a country where we can display a banner such as this without repercussion. Many in Saudi Arabia wish they were afforded those."

Amnesty International and others have since criticised the Premier League for allowing the deal to be concluded in light of the Middle East State's human rights record, claiming it is an attempt to sportswash the country's reputation - damaged by the allegations about Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

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