Mohammed Bin Suleman Stretches Out His Power to Buy New Castle FC

A group from Saudi Arabia recently bought the Newcastle United football club, and it’s making headlines. After a year-long process, the Saudi-backed consortium, which includes the Public Investment Fund (PIF), successfully acquired the club. This comes after a previous attempt was withdrawn when the Premier League didn’t approve the deal. 

Over a year ago, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) tried to buy the club for £305 million, but it didn’t happen. Now, PIF, along with PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media, successfully purchased the team. 

Fans were overjoyed outside the stadium, but some critics call it ‘sportswashing,’ pointing to concerns about Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women, the conflict in Yemen, and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

The Premier League approved the takeover, stating that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wouldn’t fully control the club. The new owners express excitement about long-term investment and building on the club’s legacy.

The PIF, a significant player in Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation, is expected to hold an 80 percent majority stake, possibly influencing the club’s finances. Despite assurances, there are lingering doubts about the separation between PIF and the Saudi state. 

The new owners, including Amanda Staveley of PCP Capital Partners and Jamie Reuben of RB Sports & Media, aim for a united philosophy and sustained growth. While moral concerns arise about ‘sportswashing’ many Newcastle fans support the takeover. 

The acquisition marks the end of Mike Ashley’s 14-year ownership, criticized for underinvestment. As fans celebrate, the hope is for a new era of success, reminiscent of earlier glory days with players like Alan Shearer.

In the broader context, Saudi Arabia’s interest in high-profile sports assets, like hosting F1 and boxing events, has grown. Despite controversies, including human rights concerns, the country is becoming a major player in global sports. 

Newcastle United is now the 14th Premier League club with a majority of foreign owners, raising hopes for a positive turnaround, similar to transformations seen in clubs like Manchester City and Paris St-Germain.

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