Newcastle strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia by appointing Majed Al Sorour to board


Newcastle has strengthened its ties with Saudi Arabia by appointing the chief executive of the country’s golf federation to its board.

Majed Al Sorour, a former footballer, becomes the fourth manager to be appointed by the Magpies following the completion of a Saudi-led club takeover last October.

He joins Yasir Al Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) which has an 80% stake in the club, Amanda Staveley and Jamie Reuben on the board.

Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman is the chairman of the PIF which has a majority stake in Newcastle (Victoria Jones/PA)

Al Sorour’s appointment comes at a time when the PIF is backing the breakaway LIV Golf International Series, which sparked further controversy earlier this week when its chief executive Greg Norman described the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey as “a mistake”. .

The PIF is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, but the Premier League approved the takeover last October after being assured there would be no state involvement in running the club .

It was reported on Friday that the club plan to announce a new white and green away strip for next season which bears a striking resemblance to the Saudi national team kit.

Newcastle did not comment on the reports, with the official kit launch for the new season expected to be confirmed in due course.

Human rights campaigners from Amnesty International said: “While it is true that Newcastle United are changing their away kit to match the national colors of Saudi Arabia, it exposes the power of the Saudi dollar and the determination of the kingdom to wash away its brutal and bloody human rights record through sport.

“Despite all their assurances of a separation between the Saudi owners and the club, this seems to be clear evidence that the regime is using Newcastle to project a positive image.

“Everyone – from fans to champions – must stand up to the Saudi propaganda campaign, be aware of what is happening there and speak out against government abuses – the mass executions, Khashoggi’s murder and the dire situation for LGBTI+ people. Sport should not be allowed to be used like this.

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