The English Premier League on Thursday (October 7th) approved the buyout of the Newcastle club by a Saudi fund, she said in a statement. « The club is sold to the consortium with immediate effect », specifies the text, where it is also underlined that the Premier League has « Received legally binding guarantees that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control the club Newcastle United ».
Newcastle, which had been owned by British billionaire Mike Ashley for fourteen years, is thus bought by a consortium comprising the Saudi investment fund PCP Capital Partners and the brothers David and Simon Reuben. « We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football »Saudi fund governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said.
« We thank the Newcastle fans for their incredible loyal support over the years and are very excited to work with them », he added. PCP Capital Partners Managing Director Amanda Staveley said it was a « Long-term investment ».
It’s gone off again at St James’ park https://t.co/W1yK6HGbAL
The transaction would amount to 300 million pounds (about 333 million euros) according to the English media. It was particularly well received by the supporters of the English club, giving scenes of jubilation in front of the Newcastle United stadium.
Redemption attempt failed in summer 2020
Before the officialization of the takeover, Amnesty International had called on the Premier League to tighten the criteria to be able to acquire a football club in England. “Under Mohammed Ben Salman, the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia remains dire – with critics of the government, women’s rights activists, Shiite activists and human rights defenders still being harassed and imprisoned, often after grossly unfair trials ”said Amnesty UK Managing Director Sacha Deshmukh.
« Instead of allowing people involved in serious human rights violations to enter English football just because their pockets are full », the NGO has « Urged the Premier League to change its criteria [de sélection] owners and managers ” of its clubs.
An attempt to buy Newcastle by the Saudis had already failed in the summer of 2020, due in particular to the personality of Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salman. The latter was named by Turkish and American officials as the sponsor of the assassination in October 2018 of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. « MBS ”later said he took responsibility for the murder as a leader, but denied any knowledge of it before it was committed.
A second front opened when the Qatari channel beIN Sports accused Saudi Arabia of being behind BeoutQ, a system for pirating sports images. Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow beIN Sports to be broadcast on its territory paved the way for the settlement of a long-standing dispute between the two Gulf countries and revived this plan to buy Newcastle.