OFFICIAL: Saudi-backed takeover of Premier League Newcastle CONFIRMED as club set to be catapulted into football’s mega-rich elite
The Saudi-backed takeover of Newcastle United has been confirmed by the Premier League, ending an 18-month saga which involved geopolitical rows, pressure from human rights groups and fans desperate for a change in ownership.
"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," read a statement from English football's top league on Thursday.
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.— Premier League Communications (@PLComms) October 7, 2021
The path for the long-running takeover was cleared after it emerged on Wednesday that the Saudis had ended their piracy dispute with Qatari company beIN Sports – one of the Premier League’s main broadcasters.
No less significantly, it was also reported that issues had been resolved between the Premier League and the consortium leading the bid regarding who would ultimately be in control of Newcastle.
The Premier League are said to have been assured that the Saudi state would not directly be involved in the day-to-day running of the club, despite 80% of the financing for the £300 million ($408 million) deal coming from the Saudi sovereign Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Newcastle United’s new ownership will install Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF, as the club’s non-executive chairman.
🤝 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
“We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football,” said Al-Rumayyan in a statement shared by the club.
“We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together with them.”
The Saudi bid has been fronted by UK businesswoman Amanda Staveley, whose PCP Capital Partners group will acquire a 10% stake in the club, while billionaire UK property developers David and Simon Reuben will gain the other 10%.
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.”
Widely-reviled current Newcastle owner Mike Ashely will see his 14-year tenure come to an end amid rejoicing from the North-East club's passionate fanbase.
The deal had initially been floated in March of last year but hit the buffers over concerns that Saudi Arabia was involved in facilitating pirate broadcasts of Qatari network beIN Sports as part of a geopolitical row between the two Gulf rivals.
There was also an apparent lack of clarity over who would ultimately be in control at Newcastle, with the mammoth PIF being chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Elsewhere, opposition to the deal came from human rights activists who rejected the notion of the Saudi state using a Premier League club to ‘sportswash’ its reputation, not least in light of the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in October 2018.
After the Saudis pulled out of the takeover in July, Newcastle announced they were pursuing legal action against the Premier League for apparently standing in its way unfairly.
However, recent developments have seen any hurdles removed as the vast majority of Geordie fans are ecstatic at the removal of current owner Ashley.
The billionaire British retail magnate has been accused of diminishing the club during his ill-fated reign, treating it merely as a way to promote his Sports Direct business while refusing to invest the requisite funds.
With their new mega-rich owners at the helm, Magpies fans will dream of a potential return to the days of the 1990s and early 2000s, when they were a Premier League force and also appeared in the UEFA Champions League.