Newcastle United’s fans got their Christmas gift early. The club was finally sold to a Saudi Arabian-backed fund for $409 million.
Fans have shared their distrust and criticism of the former owner Mike Ashley, whom they felt did not care or invest in the club.
Now they got what they wished for — a significant investment that would allow the club to compete with the bigger teams. The Premier League is home to some of the highest-paid soccer players, and Newcastle hopes to lure some of them to their club.
The new owners include a three-party consortium including Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), equity company PCP Capital Partners, and RB Sports Media.
PIF will own 80% of the club and the other two partners the remaining 20%. The Premier League approved the deal once they guaranteed that the fund would not be controlled by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Saudi Arabia.
Another big obstacle to the deal, which led it to collapse earlier this year, is Saudi Arabia’s ban on Qatari-owned media beIN Media Group and its pirate broadcast in the country. BeIN is a significant broadcasting partner of the Premier League.
The state is expected to lift the ban soon.
Lastly, many human rights organizations were calling for the deal to be blocked due to Saudi Arabia’s history with breaches of international laws and human rights violations, including the famous 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Now that the deal is approved and done, it marks the 15th club in the Premier League that is owned or part-owned by overseas investors.
With soccer being the most popular sport globally, and the Premier League the highest revenue generator, it has become very popular for many wealthy individuals and companies to invest in the sport.
The whole world is now watching to see what’s going to happen at Newcastle United. Will they become the new Manchester City or PSG and become home to some of the best soccer players in the world?