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Soccer

Despite controversy, Newcastle United release Saudi Arabia inspired third kit

Despite leaks attracting criticism last month, Newcastle United have pressed ahead with the release of a kit with a colour scheme similar to the Saudi Arabia national side.

Update:
A Newcastle United football club supporter stands with a flag above the club logo at their stadium St James' Park in Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England on October 8, 2021. - A Saudi-led consortium completed its takeover of Premier League club N
OLI SCARFFAFP

Newcastle United have launched their third kit for the 2022-23 season, with the strip bearing a significant resemblance to that worn by Saudi Arabia’s national team.

The Magpies’ alternate kit uses a base colour of white but then has green trim, with the neckline, badges and main sponsor all appearing in the secondary colour.

Saudi Arabia’s national team wear a home kit comprising very similar characteristics.

The club were purchased last October by a consortium that included Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which became the majority shareholder.

The Premier League received “assurances” there was no Saudi-state involvement in Newcastle, even though the country’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman – also known as ‘MBS’ – is the PIF’s chairman.

Saudi ‘sportswashing’?

Saudi Arabia’s human rights record led to many urging authorities to block the purchase, with it seen by critics as a classic case of “sportswashing, but the deal went through regardless.

Images of the new kit were leaked in May and saw Newcastle attract significant criticism, bringing about fresh questions about the detachment of Newcastle and the Saudi state.

However, the criticism and backlash seemingly did not put the club off releasing the strip anyway and Newcastle’s official statement features no reference to the controversial likeness.

It is not the first time Newcastle have worn green, having done so as recently as 2019-20. It also featured on their third jersey in 2014-15.

Newcastle United (Castore) - Saudi Arabia (Nike)
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Newcastle United (Castore) - Saudi Arabia (Nike)