Tue. May 17th, 2022

Another stumbling block was overcome after the Premier League, which came under pressure last year to block the deal, received “legally binding” assurances that there was a clear separation between the PIF and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, despite the PIF being led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“All parties are delighted to have completed this process providing security and clarity to Newcastle United Football Club and their fans,” the Premier League said.

Fans flocked to St James' Park as rumors of the revived deal came true.

Fans flocked to St James’ Park as rumors of the revived deal came true.Credit:AP

The fate of Newcastle coach Steve Bruce will be high on the agenda for the new owners who are eager to invest in the club.

“I know everyone has a lot of questions about managers and players and things, but right now we just want to get there and do a review of the business. We will tell you all the plans, ”Staveley said after the deal was announced.

Hundreds of Newcastle’s so-called Toon Army supporters, who have been protesting against Ashley’s run of the club, gathered outside the stadium in drizzle all day, soaked in news of the impending takeover.

While celebrating, others said it was yet another example of Saudi Arabia being “sportswashed.”

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.Credit:AP

PIF – Saudi Arabia’s $ 430 billion sovereign wealth fund – is at the heart of plans to transform the economy by creating new sectors and diversifying revenues away from oil.

The country has increasingly sought high-profile sports assets, including signing a 10-year deal for stage F1 and hosting Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title fight in 2019.

Having a club with Newcastle’s potential in the closet is a big scoop for the oil – rich nation.

But Amnesty UK chief executive Sacha Deshmukh said earlier on Thursday that the Saudi authorities “sported their horrific human rights record with the glamor of top football.

“Instead of letting those involved in serious human rights violations go into English football, simply because they have deep pockets, we have called on the Premier League to change their owners ‘and directors’ tests to address human rights issues,” he added.

The Saudi Arabian government denies allegations of human rights violations, saying it protects national security from extremists and external actors.

Newcastle will be the 14th current Premier League club to have foreign owners and fans hoping to herald a new era like the one in Manchester City that has dominated English football since being bought by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour in 2008 .


French club Paris Saint-Germain have also had influence under Qatari ownership with a host of mega-money signings.

Newcastle’s acquisition ends the 14-year ownership of Ashley, whose management has been deeply unpopular, with supporters accusing him of underinvestment and lack of ambition.

Since Ashley bought the sleeping giants, who last won a domestic trophy in 1955 and have not been top champions since 1927, they have twice been relegated from the Premier League and have not finished higher than 10th since 2012.

Another relegation battle is looming with the team, which has not won any of their seven opening matches, currently sitting second from the bottom of the table, and fans have urged Ashley and manager Bruce to leave the club.

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