Amnesty condemns Saudi 'sportswashing' after new green and white Newcastle away kit leaked
The global human rights organisation Amnesty International has warned that a new away kit which may be adopted by the English side Newcastle United would be clear evidence of "sportswashing" by the Saudi authorities.
Leaked images appeared online last week claiming to show the new away kit's colours – which were white with a green trim and strongly resembled the colours of the Saudi national side.
Newcastle United 22-23 Away Kit leaked pic.twitter.com/Ts8wJvwZ05— Ayça (@aycazehraakcay) May 12, 2022
Newcastle United were purchased by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) last year and The Daily Mail reported that the new away colours were approved by Yassir al-Rumayyan, who chairs both Newcastle United and the PIF.
These colours were never previously used by Newcastle United, who wear white shirts with a black trim. The side's home colours remain unchanged.
"If it is true that Newcastle United are changing their away kit to match Saudi Arabia's national colours, it exposes the power of the Saudi dollar and the kingdom's determination to sportswash its brutal, blood-soaked human-rights record," Felix Jakens, an Amnesty International spokesman said according to The Guardian.
Saudi Arabia is regularly criticised by human rights groups for its detention and torture of political opponents and for its intervention in the military conflict in Yemen, which has led to thousands of civilian deaths.
The murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 also led to worldwide outrage.
"Everyone - from fans to champions - needs to resist being part of Saudi Arabia's propaganda drive, be aware of what is going on there and speak out about the government's abuses. Sport must not be allowed to be used like this," The Guardian reported Jakens as saying.