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Amnesty International Calls On Premier League To Modify The Test For Owners In Newcastle Takeover

Amnesty International has urged the Premier League to change its owners' and directors' test "to address human rights issues" amid the Saudi Arabian-backed takeover of Newcastle United.

Approval for the takeover from the Premier League could come on Thursday.

A consortium would be in control of the club, not the Saudi state.

The state has been accused of human rights abuses, which Amnesty International say must be a factor in deciding whether the takeover proceeds.

In the wake of the Saudi-backed takeover of Newcastle United, Amnesty International has urged the Premier League to amend its owners' and directors' criteria "to address human rights issues."

The Premier League's approval for the takeover might come as early as Thursday.

The club would be run by a partnership rather than the Saudi government.

The state has been accused of human rights violations, which Amnesty International believes must be taken into account when considering whether or not to proceed with the takeover.

"We've urged the Premier League to change their owners' and directors' test to address human rights issues, rather than allowing those implicated in serious human rights violations to walk into English football simply because they have deep pockets," said Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International's chief executive.

"Despite English football apparently adhering to Fifa guidelines, the phrase 'human rights' does not even exist in the owners' and directors' test." We've sent the Premier League a proposed new human rights-compliant test, and we're urging them to revamp their standards in this area.

"An association with top-tier football, like Formula One, elite boxing, golf, or tennis, is a very appealing way of rebranding a country or a person with a soiled reputation. The Premier League has to improve its understanding of the sportswashing dynamic and tighten its ownership laws."

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), which will provide 80% of the funds for the £300 million deal and will be the dominant owner, will be considered as distinct from the state, allowing the takeover to pass the Premier League owners' and directors' test.

Saudi Arabia is thought to have reached an agreement after settling an alleged piracy dispute with Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sports, which has the rights to air Premier League matches in the Middle East.

PIF's status as a separate business, as well as any piracy concerns, are no longer an impediment to the takeover in the eyes of the Premier League.

Many Newcastle fans want current owner Mike Ashley to step down following a 14-year tenure marred by a lack of investment and ambition, according to them.

Newcastle United and the Premier League have both declined to respond.

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