We are a group of Newcastle United fans who are against the Saudi ownership of our club. We want to reclaim our club, and reclaim the game. Our beliefs and purpose can be summarised in four goals.
1. Supporting human rights
NUFCFAS will continue to highlight the gross human rights abuses carried out by the Saudi dictatorship, which owns 80% of our club.
Most fans are aware that numerous human rights abuses take place in Saudi Arabia and obviously do not support them, but over time there is a danger that these abuses are reduced to the level of mere ‘issues.’
It is important that we call things by their name. NUFCFAS will call out all cases of torture, draconian sentences handed out to women, discrimination of LGBT+ people, and the inhuman and internationally declared illegal use of the death penalty carried out by the regime which owns our club.
2. Solidarity with Saudi activists
We are in contact with Saudi human rights activists who have appealed to NUFC fans to show solidarity with their struggle. At the time of the takeover, Northeast politicians and commentators talked about ‘engaging’ with the owners over human rights concerns.
Unfortunately, after one year there is little evidence that this has happened, despite the Saudi regime continuing business as usual when it comes to abusing human rights.
NUFC fans are in a unique position to make a difference. We protested against Ashley and his mismanagement of the club, but also against his notoriously bad treatment of Sports Direct workers with his zero-hour contracts. If we did that, then surely we can take a stand against what the present owners are doing?
3. Opposing sportswashing
Clearly, the Saudi dictatorship bought our club to use as a key part of the Saudi Vision 2030 project, in which sport and entertainment are used to divert attention away from the dictatorship’s many crimes. NUFCFAS seeks to oppose the ‘normalisation’ of having a bloody, theocratic dictatorship owning a football club.
All NUFC fan groups, anti-discrimination campaigns like Kick it Out and Show Racism the Red Card and fanzine readers oppose discrimination against women and LGBT+ people and support human rights. However, the contradiction of correctly supporting human rights in Newcastle, while having a dictatorship which commits gross human rights abuses against its own people, as the owners of our club do, must be addressed.
NUFCFAS seeks to engage with all fans and groups to discuss the issue of how we, as fans, can prevent our club being used as an instrument to sportswash the image of a truly abhorrent regime.
4. Reclaiming the game
Many NUFC fans, while feeling conflicted and uncomfortable about the present owners, ask; what is the alternative? The fact is, only two clubs in the Premiership are owned by dictatorships and the Qatari regime owns Paris Saint Germain in France.
The Premier League were completely wrong to allow states to take over Manchester City and Newcastle United. Fans of all clubs are questioning the present ownership model.
A grassroots fan movement for more fan participation and alternative ownership models is growing. NUFCFAS is calling on fan groups, the Football Supporters’ Association and MPs to agree to tighten up the Owners’ and Directors’ Test and to add a ‘respecting human rights’ clause to the test.
While many NUFC fans are enjoying the improvement on the pitch, we have to look beyond the present. This is NOT just about NUFC, it’s also about the future of football. What do we want – a future where our clubs are owned by any state, including bloody dictatorships and dodgy oligarchs which use football to cover up their crimes, or a future where fans have a real say in how football is run and we really get our clubs back?
Would you like to support us? All funds will go towards the campaign.
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