Why Newcastle United fans won’t be able to watch Al-Ittihad friendly as Eddie Howe’s side land in Saudi Arabia

Newcastle United will round off their visit to Saudi Arabia by facing Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad on Friday.
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Newcastle United take on Saudi Pro League leaders Al-Ittihad on Friday - but fans won’t be able to watch any of the match action.

Eddie Howe’s side face Al-Ittihad, managed by former Romania head coach Cosmin Contra, as part of their six-day visit to Saudi Arabia.

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The Magpies’ players and staff, along with co-owner Amanda Staveley, arrived in Jeddah late on Sunday night after jetting off from Newcastle earlier in the day.

Howe’s men land in the Middle East in good spirits having won just their second Premier League game of the season at Leeds, 24 hours prior.

Indeed, United don’t return to competitive action until they welcome managerless Everton to St James’ Park on Tuesday, February 8.

With the club one point away from exiting the relegation and facing a huge battle in their remaining 17 games, Howe hopes to take full advantage of a warm-weather camp.

What Eddie Howe said on Saudi Arabia trip

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Speaking about the Saudi Arabia trip, Howe said before the win at Elland Road: “It’s a football decision.

“We’re doing it for the benefit of the players in our fight to stay in the division. That’s my only thought.

“We’ve got a big gap from our next game. I think we’re quite comfortable with the travelling and the effects that will have on the players.

“The facilities will be first class, we’ll be well looked after and the players, in terms of Covid, everything will be very tight.

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“We’ll try and look after everybody, do some good work and come back even an even more united squad.”

Why the game won’t be broadcast

To round off their week-long trip, Newcastle will face Al-Ittihad on Friday, with kick-off time still to be confirmed.

However, regardless of the kick-off time, fans at home won’t be able to watch the game.

In accordance with FA and Premier League regulations, the behind closed doors meeting can not be broadcasted or have highlights shown.

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Meanwhile, Howe failed to confirm if he and his squad will meet with the club’s non-executive chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan, or the state’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

Al-Rumayyan chairs Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which owns 80 per cent of Newcastle United. PCP Partners and RB Sports & Media each hold a 10 per cent stake.

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