Graeme Souness makes Newcastle United takeover claim

Graeme Souness has come down hard on Newcastle United’s majority owners.

The club’s former manager has spoken about the ownership change on ITV’s World Cup panel ahead of Saudi Arabia’s game against Argentina.

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There were accusations of “sportswashing” when the club was taken over last year in a £305million deal.

Former Newcastle United manager Graeme Souness has spoken about the club's new owners.

Newcastle are now 80%-owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, and the squad will visit the country to play a friendly against Al-Hilal in Jeddah next month.

Saudi investment in the UK

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"Football’s such a vehicle for good and bad," said Souness. "The sportswashing that's going on in our own country – Newcastle, there's no way the Saudis should have Newcastle United. They shouldn't be anywhere near it.

"But it's not an ideal world that we're operating in. The Saudis have invested in our country for decades. Football now has such a profile that the Saudis see, the people of Abu Dhabi see it, and the Americans see it. It's a chance to improve whatever brand they're involved in."

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Souness also addressed Manchester City’s ownership.

The Premier League champions are owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, and Souness said: "Right now, it’s a good news story about Man City, but that brand, Man City, and other clubs – the Abu Dhabi royal family they have – it’s only good news about them throughout the world.

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"I suppose Qatar will look at Abu Dhabi with a bit of jealousy, and, after this tournament they’ll hope that it’s a good tournament. It's in their hands to improve workers rights, to improve diversification of country, LGBTQ. They won't go quietly, they’ll be on it all the time."