Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are already involved on the world football stage, and now Saudi Arabia is also buying in. The relegation-threatened Premier League club Newcastle United has been successfully sold. The fans are happy about it.
The English football club Newcastle United has been sold to a consortium with Saudi participation. The Premier League gave the necessary approval for the takeover of table 19. The group of investors, led by British businesswoman Amanda Staveley, originally withdrew its offer this July.
The prerequisite for the approval of the Premier League was that the club would not be under the control of Saudi Arabia after the takeover. The Saudi Arabian public investment fund is said to hold 80 percent of the consortium and is now the majority owner of the association. In addition, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is accused of serious human rights violations, is the most influential man in the fund. However, the fund is viewed as “separate from the state”, which means that a takeover from the Premier League’s point of view was permissible.
According to sportschau.de, the investor group is expected to pay £ 300 million (around EUR 350 million) for the club. Millions more will have to follow in order to keep the team in the league – or even make it more successful.
Improvement of the image?
Saudi Arabia had previously given in to the dispute with the Qatari television broadcaster BeIN Sports. BeIN Sports, as the rights holder for the region and a powerful partner of the Premier League, had accused the Saudi channel BeoutQ of illegally broadcasting international sporting events and of stealing the programs of the Qatari broadcaster. Bundesliga, FIFA and UEFA considered the allegations to be proven based on a study. At the same time, Saudi Arabia had denied BeIN Sports a license to broadcast in the country. It is unclear whether the settlement of the dispute played a role in the settlement of the takeover.
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The latest developments are good news for Newcastle United fans. According to a poll by the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trusts on Tuesday, 93 percent of supporters are in favor of the takeover. The owner Mike Ashley, who is unpopular with fans, has been wanting to get rid of the club for a long time.
This makes Saudi Arabia the next Arab country to get involved in professional football. Qatar is already successful with Paris St. Germain, while the United Arab Emirates control Manchester City. The states are accused of using sport as a tool to wash off their image.