On Thursday, October 7th, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund (PIF) completed the acquisition of Premier League club Newcastle, giving optimism to fans who have aspired to win the league’s title for the first time in a century. The agreement involved a £305m buyout which had first fallen through last year. This is due to concerns about how much control the Kingdom’s leadership would have over Newcastle’s operations. Furthermore, the Saudi fund has purchased 80 percent of the club. However, the club is now in the relegation zone after seven matches. Thus, Reuben Brothers of the United Kingdom and financier Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners own the remaining 20 percent.
“We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football,” PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said.
“We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together,” he added.
The club anticipates a metamorphosis comparable to that experienced by Manchester City, following its ownership by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour in 2008. Despite this, the Premier League said in a statement that “All parties have agreed the settlement is necessary to end the long uncertainty for fans over the club’s ownership.”
In addition, “The Premier League has now received legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club.”
This purchase puts an end to British retail mogul Mike Ashley’s 14-year ownership, which has been highly derided in the club’s community. Furthermore, Newcastle have not won a major trophy since the 1955 FA Cup and its last league title was in 1927.