Newcastle manager Eddie Howe defended the English club’s decision to return to Saudi Arabia for a warm-weather training camp on Friday, stressing that it was a “football-related decision”.
And a Saudi-backed “consortium” bought Newcastle last October, knowing that the Saudi Investment Fund owns 80 percent of its shares.
The Premier League gave the green light to the club’s acquisition after receiving legally binding assurances that the Saudi state would not interfere in the club’s business.
However, human rights organizations have raised concerns about the acquisition, saying the deal represents a “sporty polish” of human rights advances in the Gulf kingdom.
Newcastle will arrive in the capital Riyadh between 4 and 10 December next year after a similar trip to Jeddah in early 2022.
In response to a question about the criticism that a new trip to Saudi Arabia might cause, Howe said: “We have made a decision related to football. We looked at the World Cup break and what works best for the team.”
“I think the best thing for the team is to get away from the noise, like we do in pre-season, which is an opportunity to train the group and build team spirit in good weather, which we did. .Our decision is solely based on football.”
Newcastle will play a friendly match against Saudi Arabian champions Al-Hilal on 8 December.
Brilliant Newcastle are sixth in the Premier League this season and will visit Tottenham on Sunday as third in Stage 13 of the Premier League.