By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
A Saudi Arabia-backed consortium has finally acquired the English Premier League club, Newcastle United Football Club, after a prolonged legal fight involving concerns about piracy and rights abuses.
The deal was concluded after the approval from the Premier League following the assurances that the Saudi state would not have control of the club.
This means the idea of the Gulf state looking at Inter Milan as an alternate option has come to an end.
In a statement confirming the deal, the Premier League said, “The Premier League, Newcastle United Football Club, and St James Holdings Limited have today settled the dispute over the takeover of the club by the consortium of PIF, PCP Capital Partners, and RB Sports & Media.
“Following the completion of the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test, the club has been sold to the consortium with immediate effect. It has now received legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club.”
The £300-million ($409 million) takeover by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) ranks Newcastle to the top in the list of richest owners in world football (€320 billion), ahead of Qatar’s Paris Sait Germain (PSG) (€220 billion), and the United Arab Emirates’ Manchester City (€21 billion).
Speaking on the successful deal, the PIF governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan said, “We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football.
“We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together with them.”
Recall that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners, and the Reuben Brothers, who are the parties in the deal had, earlier last year, withdrawn their proposed takeover due to the worldwide uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The takeover by the Saudi state, which was disclosed on Thursday, sees the end of the 14-year ownership by British retail tycoon, Mr Mike Ashley over the football outfit, with sports pundits saying the club will witness a new era in terms of its ability to compete with the bigger outfits in Europe.