Newcastle United will play host to Saudi Arabia international football friendlies this year in a major publication of the kingdom’s relationship with the Premier League outfit.
The Middle Eastern country, whose Public Investment Fund purchased Newcastle in October 2021, will take on Costa Rica on 8 September and South Korea on 12 September.
“The two friendlies on Tyneside will form part of the team’s preparations for the AFC Asian Cup, which takes place in Qatar in January 2024,” the club said.
There are, however, some questions with the announcement, which seem to point towards state control of the club – who last year finished fourth in the Premier League and secured Champions League football.
The £305m takeover of the club two years ago included “legally binding assurances” that the team would not have interference from the Saudi state.
A move like this will raise questions over those assurances.
Newcastle United got their Premier League season off to a flying start with a storming 5-1 victory over Aston Villa at St James’ Park on Saturday.
They take on Manchester City this Saturday before hosting Liverpool on Sunday 27 August.