Newcastle United denies hiring Saudi coach for U-21 team
Newcastle United FC strongly denied hiring Saudi coach Ahmed al-Issa, in an interview with Al Arabiya. Reuters photoNewcastle United FC has denied earlier reports that it had hired Saudi coach Ahmed al-Issa to train the Under-21 Reserve Team, according to an Al Arabiya report this week.
Al-Issa was alleged to have signed a two year contract to work with the U-21 Reserve Team, according to an article published by the Saudi newspaper al-Riyadh this week.
The spokesman of Newcastle United FC strongly denied any professional link between the football club and al-Issa, in an interview with Al Arabiya. This was despite coverage of al-Issa’s alleged move being carried by several international media outlets.
"It's completely incorrect it's wrong, “said Mark Hannen, Newcastle United FC spokesperson.
"That report you are referring to is absolutely not true," he added.
The team is looking to maintain their current form in the Professional Development League after recent wins over English teams Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City.
Exactly how the move, if it were to go ahead, would affect Newcastle’s present coaches Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley is still unclear.
In Monday night’s episode of Al Arabiya TV sports show, “Fi al-Marma” (In The Goal), presenter Battal al-Kaws asked al-Riyadh’s correspondent:
“Do you believe that a Saudi will be signed to train an English football club when the Saudi Premier League doesn’t even have a manager of Saudi origin?”
But the correspondent, who originally reported the story, said it was his job to only “report the story, not investigate if it is true.”
“I’m a journalist at the end of the day; I report the news as it is in a professional way. I don't need to investigate the news as it’s not part of my duty,” said Abdel Rahman al-Abid.
* This story was originally published on the Al-Arabiya website on Sept. 11, 2012.