Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp raises Premier League questions and 'human rights issues' over Newcastle United takeover

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has described Newcastle United as a new footballing ‘superpower’ – but he also raised concerns over ‘human rights issues’ following the £305m takeover.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 1:39 pm

A consortium led by Saudi-based Public Investment Fund were given Premier League approval last week to take control of Newcastle, sparking widespread criticism due to the Middle East country’s poor human rights record.

Amnesty International has described the reported £305million deal as “an extremely bitter blow for human rights defenders”.

Premier League managers have been giving their reaction to the takeover at their pre-match press conferences this afternoon ahead of the weekend’s fixtures.

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Amanda Staveley gives a celebratory wave after the takeover of Newcastle United. North News.

Newcastle are now one of the richest clubs in the world and over time will be aiming to compete with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City & Co for Champions League qualifications and trophies.

Liverpool boss Klopp said: "What will it mean for football? A few months ago, we had a massive issue in the football world with 12 clubs trying to build a Super League.

"It didn't happen but this is kind of creating a 'super team' if you want.

"It is pretty much the same. Guaranteed spot in the Champions League. In a few years' time, not immediately. With how financial fair play is used nowadays where nobody knows exactly whether it is still existing or not.

"Newcastle fans will love it of course but of course for us, it just means there is a new superpower in Newcastle. I can't avoid that.

"Money cannot buy everything but over time they have enough money to make a few wrong decisions to then make the right decisions and then they will be where they want to be."

The Premier League approved Newcastle’s takeover after receiving “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi state would not control the club.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, is listed as chair of PIF, but the Premier League was satisfied the state would have no dealings with the club.

Amanda Staveley, the figurehead of the Saudi-backed consortium, welcomed the Premier League’s statement last week, saying: “They’ve made their views on the separation very clear. There is very clear separation between PIF and the Saudi state.”

However, Klopp added: “As far as I know it is the third club to be owned by a country," he said. "I am not sure how many countries are out there to have the financial power and interest to do so.

"I was waiting for an official statement from Richard Masters or somebody else," added Klopp. "We all know there are obviously concerns about human rights issues. I think it is all clear that we think the same there."

Newcastle United host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday with Steve Bruce taking charge of the new owners’ first game.

It had been reported Bruce would be sacked before the game, with Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers and former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte among those linked with succeeding him.

But the club issued an operations notice on Thursday to say that Bruce would attend a media briefing on Friday afternoon.

Newcastle are currently second from bottom of the Premier League, without a win in their first seven games.