Klopp slams Saudi Newcastle takeover, urges answers from EPL

Liverpool boss slams Saudi takeover of Newcastle, demands answers from EPL chief
3 min read
16 October, 2021
Klopp likened the takeover to the now-defunct attempt to set up a super league, which was thwarted by the Premier League, and demanded that league chief Richard Masters explain how the deal was allowed.
Jurgen Klopp also raised concerns about foreign state ownership of football clubs. [Getty]

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp  has demanded that Premier League chief Richard Masters explain why a Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund was able to take over Newcastle United, given the kingdom’s record on human rights.

Klopp likened the deal to the now-defunct attempt to set up a super league, which was thwarted by the Premier League.

“I was waiting for some official statements about it from Richard Masters or someone. We all know there are obviously some concerns over human rights issues. That’s clear. We all think the same there. It [a statement] didn’t happen,” Klopp said to reporters ahead of Liverpool’s outing to Watford.

“What will it mean for football? A few months ago we had a massive argument – issue – the whole football world, with 12 clubs trying to build a Super League. Rightly so. It didn’t happen, but this is kind of creating a super team if you want. It’s pretty much the same; guaranteed spots in the Champions League in a few years time. Financial fair play nowadays, nobody knows exactly if it still exists or not.

“Newcastle fans will love it but for the rest of us it just means there is a new superpower in Newcastle. We cannot avoid that. Money cannot buy everything but over time they will have enough money to make a few wrong decisions, then make the right decisions, and then they will be where they want to be in the long term. Everybody knows that, and obviously the Premier League, Richard Masters, thought: ‘Yeah, let’s give it a go,’” he said.

Perspectives

 

The Liverpool boss also raised concerns about foreign state ownership of football clubs.

“As far as I know it’s the third club that is owned by a country. I’m not sure how many countries are still out there who have the financial power and interest to do so, but this is how it is, and what we have to deal with,” he said, in reference to Abu Dhabi’s ownership of Manchester City and Qatar’s recent purchase of Paris St-Germain.

Saudi Arabia has a long-standing history of human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings. 

This month marks three years since Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Istanbul in a brutal assassination the CIA and MI6 have linked to senior Saudi officials. 

The Saudis are heavily involved in the war in Yemen, where war crimes have been committed on all sides and its population are suffering from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. 

The kingdom’s takeover of Newcastle has also led to rights groups demanding answers from the Premier League, with Amnesty International currently pushing to meet with Masters on the issue.