LGBT+ fan groups alliance criticises Newcastle takeover

Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund (PIF) — chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman — now owns 80% of the membership, with the remaining divided between RB Sports activities & Media and PCP Capital Companions, whose chief government, Amanda Staveley, led the takeover.

Earlier than the takeover was introduced, Amnesty Worldwide had urged the Premier League to alter its homeowners’ and administrators’ take a look at to handle human rights points and stop “sportswashing.”

“We’ve got important considerations, alongside human rights organisations comparable to Amnesty Worldwide, concerning the remedy of LGBT+ individuals in Saudi Arabia and different international locations worldwide,” Delight in Soccer mentioned in an announcement on Saturday.

“It’s evident that the brand new possession of Newcastle United have shut hyperlinks to, and in some circumstances are, the identical individuals who lead the oppressive regime in Saudi Arabia.

“The footballing authorities have critical and important inquiries to reply in permitting homeowners and sponsors to make use of soccer golf equipment as commodities to ‘sports activities wash’ and ‘rainbow wash’ their remedy of LGBT+ individuals, ladies and different minorities.”

A picture shows the exterior of Newcastle United football club's stadium St James' Park in Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England on October 8, 2021.

Homosexuality is against the law in Saudi Arabia and Amnesty Worldwide questioned how the Premier League can go forward with campaigns like “Rainbow Laces”, an initiative it launched with LGBTQ+ rights group Stonewall to advertise variety and equality.

On Friday, Newcastle United’s official LGBTQ+ supporters’ group mentioned they have been hopeful that the membership’s takeover may have a “constructive affect” in Saudi Arabia and enhance situations for LGBTQ+ individuals there.

Staveley denied that the acquisition was designed to “sportswash” Saudi Arabia’s human rights file, saying the deal would rebuild the membership right into a successful workforce.

Newcastle United's new director Amanda Staveley arrives with colleagues at St James' Park in Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England on October 8, 2021, after the sale of the football club to a Saudi-led consortium was confirmed.

Nonetheless, Delight in Soccer expressed solidarity with LGBT+ followers who would see the takeover as “an indication of the continuous damaged commitments to the human rights in sport”.

“It’s our elementary perception that no fan ought to be within the state of affairs that they must resolve between supporting the membership they love and standing up for his or her rights or the rights of others,” the assertion continued.

“We immediately referred to as for a extra thorough match and correct take a look at for homeowners and administrators … This takeover highlights how insufficient the present assessments and buildings for soccer possession are on this nation — they’re merely not match for function.”

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