Newcastle players travel to Saudi Arabia due to Amnesty International fears of sports washing

Newcastle players travel to Saudi Arabia for a training camp where President Eddie Howe, Kieran Trippier and Alan Saint-Maximum lead the group to the airport… and even Callum Wilson rides on his crutches!

  • After their victory over Leeds, Toon players were spotted at the airport
  • They are heading to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for an internship in warm weather
  • It’s a controversial journey but Eddie Howe insists it’s a football decision
  • The team has a 17-day break between matches and won’t play until February











Eddie Howe so is Newcastle United their team on their controversial journey to Kingdom Saudi Arabia.

Stars like Kieran Trippier and Alain Saint-Maximum are pictured in suitcases as they arrive at Newcastle International Airport on Sunday morning after their much-needed 1-0 win. Leeds unite the day before.

As revealed by Sportsmail, the team will fly to Jeddah for a training camp in warm weather during which they will also play a game, although the media is not allowed.

Eddie Howe and his team in Newcastle are photographed at the airport heading to Saudi Arabia

Eddie Howe and his team in Newcastle are photographed at the airport heading to Saudi Arabia

The trip marked the team’s first visit to the Gulf kingdom since it was seized by the country’s Public Investment Fund in October. Co-owner Amanda Staveley – who we understand will be traveling with the team – had to convince the Premier League that the club would not come under Saudi state control and that the Public Investment Fund was a separate entity.

However, Amnesty International fears the visit could turn into “another PR opportunity for the Saudi authorities trying to launder their appalling human rights record”.

At a press conference, Howe did not say whether he and his team would meet with officials such as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the governor of the Public Investment Fund and the president of Newcastle, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, but said the trip was a “ballistic decision”.

The trip was controversial with AI fears it could be sportswash

The trip was controversial with AI fears it could be sportswash

He leaves the team after winning their first away game of the season and only their second game of the season so far.

Speaking before the Leeds match, Howe said the Saudi break was a good idea despite the unwanted attention it would attract.

I think it’s a useful exercise. The facilities will be first class and we will take good care of them.

But Hao insisted that it was

But Hao insisted it was a “football decision” to leave and planned to send his team away

“It’s football’s decision. We’re doing it for the players in our fight to stay in the division, and that’s just what I’m thinking about.

There will be no distraction on my part. It’s about making sure the players focus on the next game.

Newcastle players were told last week that they would go to Saudi Arabia during the 17-day period between matches. The destination is believed to have been suggested at the invitation of the owners.

The team will be able to enjoy a 17-day break between matches because their next Premier League match won’t be until February 8 at home to Everton.

The trip comes after a much-needed 1-0 win over Leeds United on Saturday

The trip comes after a much-needed 1-0 win over Leeds United on Saturday

Jongo Shelvey scored the only goal of the match as Newcastle moved above Watford to 17th place

Jongo Shelvey scored the only goal of the match as Newcastle moved above Watford to 17th place

Howe said he had always planned to put the team away during this time and wasn’t worried about the long trip to Jeddah.

“I think travel is manageable, and the distances aren’t very far,” he said. “We have a big gap before our next match.

With regard to Covid, everything will be very tight. We’ll try to take care of everyone, do some good work and get back into a united team.

I think it’s important that we encourage this unity, leaving is a great idea. It will be a practical training camp.

“I think it’s very important for people to know we’re going to be very active.”

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