Newcastle United reveals 'Saudi flag' third kit sparking outrage in UK
Newcastle United has unveiled its new third kit, which football pundits say bears an uncanny resemblance to the national flag of the club's owners - Saudi Arabia.
The North East side will don the green and white kit for some Premier League games next season following a controversial buy-out from the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) earlier this year.
The PIF is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de-facto ruler and now owns an 80 percent stake in Newcastle.
The club also announced Monday that PIF-backed online retailer Noon would be the sleeve sponsor of Newcastle United next season.
Newcastle have unveiled their new third shirt for next season, in the colors of Saudi Arabia! 🇸🇦 pic.twitter.com/v9PmaiIg9p— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) June 28, 2022
Leaked photos of the Saudi-inspired kit were leaked online in May sparking outrage over the kingdom's war in Yemen and oppression of human rights activists.
Human rights groups also said the buyout and kit amounted to "sportswashing".
The kit bears extreme similarities to Saudi Arabia's national kit and comes after Saudi Arabia insisted the government would not be involved in the running of the club following a months-long saga before the £300 million purchase.
For approval from the Premier League, the PIF - a sovereign wealth fund - had to prove there would be no Saudi government interference in the club after the change of hands.
Earlier this year, the club appointed Majed Al Sorour, the chief executive of Saudi Golf, as a director, documents from the UK government's Companies House show.