Newcastle United edge closer to a new era, as interest from a Saudi Arabian consortium has been renewed and a deal reported to be complete.
Public Investment Fund (PIF) has completed a take over for around £300 million, the deal itself has now passed the Premier League’s owners and directors test.
🤝 An investment group led by the Public Investment Fund, and also comprising PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media, has completed the acquisition of 100% of Newcastle United Limited and Newcastle United Football Club Limited from St. James Holdings Limited.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 7, 2021
An original agreement was made in 2020, but since then there has been a few setbacks that have prevented the deal from progressing. In April 2020, a deal was agreed upon that included Amanda Staveley, who became the public face of the deal and PCP Capital Partners, but they would walk away just four months in over disagreements on who would control the club.
The second sticking point was determining whether or not PIF was separate from the Saudi state, and not funded by the country itself. The chairman of PIF is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudia Arabia, and he has been accused of ordering the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country, something which he denies.
This also links to the issues of piracy and human rights abuse that take place in the country – meaning if the takeover was officially linked to the state – there would be no way for it to pass the Premier League’s suitability tests.
The third issue follows links to streaming the Premier League and other football illegally in Saudi Arabia, as the state had banned its legal provider, beIN Sports. This four-and-half year ban has since been lifted and is one of the main reasons for the breakthrough.
🗣 “It will be announced if not tomorrow then certainly by the end of the week”@LukeEdwardsTele has details of the #NUFCtakeover on a day he calls “the most dramatic I’ve had in 20 years covering the club”.#bbcfootball
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) October 6, 2021
The Premier League also now sees PIF as a separate entity to the Saudi state, and with the country to show the league, legally, they see little reason to not move forward with the proposal.
On Tuesday, the Newcastle United Supporters Trust survey showed that 93% were in favour of the takeover.
Despite the consortium allegedly proving they have little to no links to the Saudi state, Amnesty International have urged the Premier League to reconsider its decision and address the human rights violations in the state, and those linked to those violations.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) October 7, 2021
Even with concerns, it is believed that the takeover could be announced before the close of the week by the club, bringing an end to Mike Ashley’s 14-year spell at the top of Newcastle United.
The news that fans will want to hear, is that the new ownership will not only bring a new lease of life to the city of Newcastle and the football club, it will also make them one of the richest in the world, with ambitions of competing with those at the top.
Even with the riches that will come with the takeover, there will no doubt be a cloud that looms over this deal. On the pitch, it could be great news but off the pitch, only time will tell the truths of those behind this deal.