'Harder to fail than GCSE PE' - Leeds United chief on Premier League test, Newcastle United owners and necessary review

Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear says the media and public focus on Newcastle United should be on how their new owners embrace 'equality, diversity and inclusion.'

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 1:42 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 1:44 pm
NEW OWNERS - Chairman of Newcastle United, Yasir Al-Rumayyan and Amanda Staveley, minority-stake owner at St James' Park. Pic: Getty

Writing in his programme notes for the Whites' Elland Road game against Wolves, Kinnear poked fun at the integrity of the Premier League' s owners and directors' test and called for a division-wide review of financial fair play in the top flight.

According to the Premier League, the owners and directors' test 'outlines requirements that would prohibit an individual from becoming an owner or director of a club, including criminal convictions for a wide range of offences, a ban by a sporting or professional body, or breaches of certain key football regulations, such as match-fixing.'

The test is applied to all prospective owners and directors, with reviews carried out on a seasonal basis.

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Human rights issues in Saudi Arabia have been at the heart of criticism of the recent takeover of Newcastle United by the Public Investment Fund, whose chairman Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is also the current ruler of the Gulf State.

When the PIF bought the Magpies, instantly making them one of the richest clubs in world football, the Premier League released a statement insisting they had received 'legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club.'

"The media and public have been left debating why the Premier League owners and directors' test is harder to fail than GCSE PE," wrote Kinnear.

"But our real focus now should be on how the new owners of Newcastle embrace the values of equality, diversity and inclusion that are core to every club's membership of the greatest league in the world."

Kinnear also wants financial fair play to be the centre of the Premier League's attention. His programme notes carried a not-so-subtle dig in the ribs of both Newcastle and Abu Dhabi backed Manchester City.

"Simultaneously, there is an opportunity for all clubs to participate in a long overdue review of the rules that ensure the financial and commercial fair play that are central to keeping our league competitive and attractive," he said.

"After the bitter schisms within the league caused by Project Big Picture and the European Super League we may at last have found an issue which unites at least 18 member clubs."