Crystal Palace fans hold up graphic banner savaging Newcastle’s Saudi takeover

Crystal Palace fan group Holmesdale Fanatics have slammed the Premier League for allowing the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United to go ahead with a scathing banner.

The group brought the banner to their home clash against Graeme Jones's side on Saturday afternoon, and issued a statement on their official Twitter account to accompany the gesture.

The banner accuses the state of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and points towards its grim history of public executions and jailing critics.

The takeover was accepted by the Premier League in early October after they received "legally binding assurances" that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control the football club.

Critics have ridiculed how this can be so when crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is the chair of the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The PIF of Saudi Arabia owns 80% of the club with David and Simon Reuben owning 10%, and Amanda Staveley's PCP Capital Partners having the final 10%.

US intelligence concluded that Bin Salman ordered the murder of Khashoggi, an accusation he denies.

The official Holmesdale Fanatics statement reads: "The Saudi led takeover of Newcastle has rightly received widespread condemnation and anger.

"It is clear the P.I.F is a front for the tyrannical ruling Saudi regime and by endorsing this, the Premier League has made a mockery of its own 'Owners and Directors' test.

"The Premier League has chosen money over morals and in green lighting this deal, has done business with one of the world's most bloody and repressive regimes.

"A country controlled by fear where women are second class citizens, same-sex partnerships banned journalists silenced, imprisoned or killed and 'dissidents' brutally persecuted now has a foothold in our national game.

"To give the 'thumbs up' to this deal at a time when the Premier League is promoting the women's game and inclusive initiatives such as rainbow armbands, shows the total hypocrisy at play and demonstrates the League's soulless agenda where profits trump all.

"Newcastle, as a team, is now being used to sports wash the blood from the hands of a corrupt governance and deluded supporters should consider that reality when singing of 'getting their club back'

"We are lucky to live in a country where we can display a banner such as this without repercussion. Many in Saudi Arabia wish they were afforded those same basic rights."

Staveley has enforced her message that Newcastle are not being run by the state on more than one occasion, which is what gave Premier League bosses their approval in the Owners' and Directors' Test.

Staveley says: “Football’s inclusive to all, that’s the great thing about it. I understand and appreciate all the messages on human rights and we treat them very seriously.

"But I wouldn’t bring partners into the consortium if they didn’t have the right record and PIF is autonomous and independent of the Saudi government. PIF owns Newcastle, not the Saudi state.

“In buying Newcastle PIF are not going to hide and we’re proud of them; we need, strong, brave, partners. I love brave, passionate, people, that’s how I do business. We want to see more investment in the north of England, levelling up’s part of the agenda."

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