A Saudi Arabia-led takeover of Premier League club Newcastle United has been completed, thus finally ending the saga that lasted for 18 months. Public Investment Fund (PIF) has bought the Premier League club in a deal worth just over £300 million.
The consortium includes the kingdom’s $430 billion sovereign wealth fund PIF where Saudi’s crown-Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the Chairman. The PIF primarily aims to transform Saudi’s economy by creating new sectors for revenue, apart from oil.
Mike Ashely’s 14 years of ownership with the Premier League club has finally come to end. The club under Mike Ashley was previously engaged in legal disputes with the Premier League to ensure the club was sold to the Saudi-led consortium. The differences, however, have been resolved now. Amanda Staveley, the British businesswoman, has been a key-player in this takeover getting completed.
What made this move suddenly happen when most Newcastle Utd fans believed this day would never come?
As heavily speculated on the 6th of October, Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on broadcaster beIN SPORTS – a Qatari network. The ban was placed on the Sports broadcaster when both Saudi and Qatar were involved in diplomatic disputes. The ban previously was viewed by the Premier League as a potential issue in sanctioning the sale of Newcastle Utd a few months back, leading to legal disputes.
In addition, the PIF has offered assurances to the Premier League that its chairman – Mohammed bin Salman, who is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia as well as the state will not have any control of how they run Newcastle Utd.
What does this mean for Newcastle fans?
The new owners have the power to transform the club drastically and make them a powerhouse in the world of football. Expectations are already high among the Toons and most fans of the club are joyous about the departure of former owner Mike Ashley as well as the prospect of being a top club in England again, with the spending power of the new owners.
The consortium where Amanda Staveley will be a key player is expected to invest in the football club and also the city of Newcastle. The new owners have already indicated they have a vision for Newcastle United – a famous club that has struggled to stay in the Premier League under the ownership of Mike Ashley.
Amanda Staveley said “This is a long-term investment. We are excited about the future prospects for Newcastle United. We intend to instill a united philosophy across the club, establish a clear purpose, and help provide leadership that will allow Newcastle United to go on to big achievements over the long term.
“Our ambition is aligned with the fans — to create a consistently successful team that’s regularly competing for major trophies and generates pride across the globe.”
PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said “We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football.
“We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together with them.”
“The Premier League, Newcastle United Football Club and St James Holdings Limited have today settled the dispute over the takeover of the club by the consortium of PIF, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media,” the Premier League said in statement released on Thursday.
It added “Following the completion of the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ Test, the club has been sold to the consortium with immediate effect.”