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‘This is how it will help ordinary people in Saudi Arabia if the Newcastle United takeover is blocked’

2 years ago

Still no news on the Newcastle United takeover.

Complete silence and the journalists clearly haven’t got a clue, many of them now having totally given up on even making up stories pretending they know something about the reportedly ongoing Premier League process to approve the deal.

Instead using their crayons to invent even more tales of how Bale, Coutinho, Zaha, Koulibaly and another couple of dozen superstars are definitely signing and Zinedine Zidane is now apparently going to be the new NUFC manager for sure. Despite that is, the newspapers don’t even have a clue as to whether or not the Newcastle United takeover is even still happening.

Like the rest of you I am trying to keep calm and just wait for the takeover announcement but coming up to six weeks of Premier League pondering, you do need other distractions if possible.

Which got me thinking this weekend.

If this Newcastle United takeover was indeed blocked, who would actually benefit from that moving forward?

In particular, how would no takeover happening, help the ordinary people in Saudi Arabia?

You know, the ones who everybody is worried about their human rights and how they are treated by the Saudi regime.

I agree that as well as an investment and other reasons, a big / maybe biggest factor motivating the Saudi PIF Newcastle United takeover, is to do with helping to cultivate a better public image of Saudi Arabia around the world, sports washing as they say.

The thinking of protesters / campaigners being that a country shouldn’t be allowed to buy a Premier League club to help promote that better image because of how Saudi Arabia has behaved down the years, especially towards their own people.

I get all that but exactly what will be the positives for ordinary Saudi Arabians if the deal doesn’t happen, what will make their lives better?

I am struggling to think of anything.

Nothing can be taken for granted but for the people who actually live in Saudi Arabia, I would think they stand a better chance of improvements in their everyday lives, if the Newcastle United takeover goes ahead.

Forget about the benefits you think this deal would potentially have for the country’s rulers, leave those aside and simply focus on the normal people for now.

For starters, many football fans in Saudi Arabia love Premier League football, for the vast majority of countries around the globe, it is seen as the world’s league, people choosing to support a PL club from a country they will very likely never ever visit. I find it very difficult to believe that out of the millions and millions of people in Saudi Arabia who love football, that many of them wouldn’t want to have a club they can feel a special connection with.

More importantly though, when it comes to improving the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, surely there will be more chance, no matter how small some might think, if the Newcastle United takeover happens.

Women in particular in Saudi Arabia need all the help they can get to try and ensure their lives are progressively improved. Many women in the country are football mad and it seems incredible to us in the UK, but those who previously went to watch matches (having to go disguised as men) were breaking the law and faced arrest if caught, until the law changed in 2018. It is the same with driving a car, only these last couple of years have women been allowed to drive cars in Saudi Arabia.

I think we can confidently be sure that the Saudi PIF financed bid would look to do similar at Newcastle United as Qatar have done at Man City.

Looking to develop a very successful team on the pitch and run NUFC as a model club off it, or else the sports washing argument doesn’t really hold up…

One significant aspect of that will be having a successful women’s team that is properly funded, something that Mike Ashley has always refused to do.

A properly supported women’s football team is an essential for any ambitious Premier League club now. As well as the fact they should be wanting  to do it for all the right reasons, it is also something that makes complete sense in terms of being seen to do the right thing. Promoting football to all parts of the community and whilst yes the women’s team do need to be financed at this point rather than stand alones, the popularity and crowds have significantly grown these past 12 months and ambitious PL clubs will need a successfully ran women’s team as we move forward.

When football was suspended in March, no surprise to see Manchester City top of that league, ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal, whilst the other ‘big six’ clubs (Liverpool, Man Utd and Spurs) also have teams in the 12 club women’s super league.

A ridiculously high number of England’s best female football players are from the north east and yet don’t have a top level team / club to play for.

If / when the takeover happens and amongst other things the Saudi PIF owners put the necessary resources into funding a properly ran and successful NUFC women’s team, I find it impossible to believe that this then can’t be used to help in the push for far better rights for women back in Saudi Arabia. Looking on the positive side, hopefully in some ways running a successful Newcastle United women’s team could help persuade the Saudi regime, in some small way, to want to be more progressive in the treatment of women back home.

I think the bottom line to the impending Saudi Newcastle United takeover, in terms of positives / negatives when it comes to human rights, is that it is a double edged sword.

Yes the Saudi regime want to use Newcastle United to help improve their image for what has gone before BUT I definitely also see the potential for improvements to happen in Saudi Arabia, due to their NUFC ongoing relationship and the fact that post-takeover, the spotlight on Saudi human rights would undoubtedly continue well into the future, highlighting anything positive or negative.


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