This week, Newcastle United made it official that two Saudi Arabia games will take place at St. James’ Park during the upcoming international break.

Newcastle United takeover: Who are the new owners of the ...

The Green Falcons, who famously defeated World Cup champions Argentina in last year’s competition, will play South Korea on September 12 and Costa Rica on September 8 respectively.

In October 2021, Newcastle was successfully acquired by Saudi Arabia with 80% of the money coming from the state’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Since then, Newcastle has undergone an on-field transformation, with Eddie Howe’s team now anticipating the Champions League rather than the Championship as they fought against relegation under Mike Ashley’s leadership.

Although the club has received criticism for its ties to the Saudi Arabian government, particularly from human rights organizations and Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the club has not been immune from criticism.

When the agreement was finalized over two years ago, both Newcastle and the Premier League claimed that the club’s owners are independent of the Saudi kingdom.

The Toon, though, appear to have strengthened their ties to the Middle Eastern kingdom in recent months, first agreeing to a £25 million contract with Sela and then donning a third kit that matches the colors of the Saudi Arabian national team uniform.

The Green Falcons’ preparations for the 2024 AFC Asian Cup include these friendlies, which will only serve to heighten the controversies surrounding the team and its ownership.

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