Newcastle United: Saudi Arabia’s finance minister defends takeover

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The finance minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, has defended the Saudi Arabia-backed takeover of Newcastle United, saying it is “good for the whole football community”.

Since the Saudi Arabia-backed consortium took over the club after paying over £305 million to the former owner of the club, Mike Ashley, there have been a series of criticism against the deal.

Most critics argued that the Premier League should not have authorized the deal because of the human rights abuses linked to the country behind the takeover.

Recall that the pressure on the consortium and the length of the negotiation forced the consortium to bow out of the quest to take over Newcastle United. The halt in the negotiation made the supporters of the club revolt against the Premier League until the league body was left with no choice but to re-open the negotiation.

Unlike previously, the Premier League gave speed to the takeover process, a development critics like Amnesty International were not happy about.

On Monday, October 18, 2021, most Premier League clubs voted for the temporary freeze on deals with businesses linked to club owners. The development means that clubs can not do business with companies linked to those who own the clubs.

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This is a measure to ensure that Newcastle United don’t find a means of breaching the Premier League financial fair play rules.

The rules allow clubs to make maximum losses of £105 million over a successive three-year period. In the past, clubs carried out artificially inflated commercial deals to increase their revenues so that they can spend more than they are allowed to spend in the transfer market.

But since owners of clubs can not do businesses with companies linked to them, it will be difficult for clubs to artificially inflate commercial deals or breach the financial fair play rules without being caught.

In reaction to the development, the finance minister of Saudi Arabia believes that some powers in the Premier League were worried about the kind of competition the takeover of Newcastle United would bring to the table.

“This is PIF investment and basically, as they said, they are investing in the club but also the community, the academy, and the stadium itself,” the finance minister told CNBC. “This is one investment among so many.

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“I don’t know the technicalities of the association in the UK. But I would say if people are worried about competition amongst clubs, and particularly now we have invested in one of them, possibly that is a good sign that a serious competitor is coming their way.

“With sponsorship particularly, we do that not only with clubs that we own but with different clubs and events. I think there will be plenty of opportunities for sponsors and plenty of opportunities for the club.”

On the temporary freeze on deals with businesses linked to club owners, one Premier League executive told Sky Sports that: “If we didn’t have the ban, there would have been nothing to stop Newcastle signing a say £100m naming rights deal for their stadium with a Saudi company linked to their owners.

“They could then have used that money to buy players in January and get around our financial fair play rules”

Newcastle United held talks with Paulo Fonseca

Newcastle United held talks with Paulo Fonseca
Paulo Fonseca.

The new owners of Newcastle United held talks with a former coach of Roma, Paulo Fonseca as their search for a new manager continues.

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Recall that the new owners sacked Steve Bruce on Wednesday which means that the club does not have a permanent coach at the moment.

Newcastle United are playing their next Premier League game on Saturday under the tutelage of an assistant coach Graeme Jones. The game which is against Crystal Palace will kick-off at 15:00.

The Saturday game might be Jones’ first and only weekend game in charge of Newcastle United because the new owners of the club are doing everything possible to get a permanent coach before the end of October.

Aside from Fonseca who was almost named the coach of Tottenham Hotspur last summer, Newcastle United are considering a couple of other names for the job which include former Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre.

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