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Newcastle United takeover, Saudi Arabia, Public Investment Fund, reaction, emergency meeting, who is Amanda Staveley?

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Newcastle are dreaming of glory but the rest of the Premier League has been left fuming after the Saudi-led consortium behind the blockbuster takeover outlined their “ambitious” plans.

Thousands of jubilant supporters swarmed to Newcastle’s St James’ Park stadium after the drawn-out £305 million ($A568 million) deal was agreed, chanting “we’ve got our club back”.

The takeover was rubber-stamped by the Premier League on Friday after it received legally binding assurances that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which has an 80 per cent stake in the club, was not acting on behalf of the kingdom’s government.

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A Saudi-led consortium completed its takeover despite controversy. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)
A Saudi-led consortium completed its takeover despite controversy. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)Source: AFP

That is despite the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, being listed as the PIF’s chairman.

While the takeover cannot be stopped at this point, it has not stopped all other 19 top-flight clubs from voicing their opposition.

According to a report from The Guardian, all other teams are “united in opposition” to the takeover and “demanding to know what changed for it to be waved through”.

The lack of notice provided to the clubs is also understood to be a point of contention amid claims they only found out via the media on Thursday.

Issues of confidentiality and legality would have likely been at the centre of the league’s decision to not share developments in the Newcastle takeover with clubs.

That is far from the only issue the 19 clubs have though, with concerns over how the league’s brand could be damaged by the Public Investment Fund’s takeover.

Despite glee among fans, the takeover deal was greeted with dismay by Amnesty, who described it as “an extremely bitter blow for human rights defenders”.

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Newcastle United supporters celebrate but not everyone is happy. (Photo by – / AFP)Source: AFP

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty UK’s CEO, said: “We can understand that this will be seen as a great day by many Newcastle United fans, but it’s also a very worrying day for anyone who cares about the ownership of English football clubs and whether these great clubs are being used to sportswash human rights abuse.”

Saudi Arabia faced international condemnation following the brutal murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate three years ago.

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of Khashoggi, said the Saudi-backed takeover was “heartbreaking”.

“I am very disappointed,” she told the BBC.

“What I’ve been doing since his murder is seeking justice for Jamal every day, every chance that I found or every place I can go and ask more.

“Then suddenly, I saw the news and people were talking about the takeover and I said ‘please, do not do that, please be respectful to yourself’.”

Newcastle, languishing second from bottom of the Premier League without a win in seven games, will hope to follow the template established by reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.

The takeover went ahead despite warnings from Amnesty International that the deal represented ‘sportswashing’ of the Gulf kingdom’s human rights record. (Photo by – / AFP)Source: AFP

They have become serial trophy winners since a 2008 takeover by Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.

New director Amanda Staveley, a driving force behind the takeover, vowed to transform the club into Premier League champions in the long-term.

“Of course we have the same ambitions as Manchester City and PSG in terms of trophies, absolutely, but that will take time,” Staveley told the Daily Mail.

“Do we want to win the Premier League within five to 10 years? Yes. We want to see trophies. But trophies need investment, time, patience and team work.”

Staveley said she had spoken to under-fire boss Steve Bruce and while she insisted no decisions had been made about the future of the manager, his departure seems likely.

Bruce said he wanted to continue but accepted he may be replaced.

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