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Newcastle United won’t just have the wealthiest owners in the Premier League, but in the world, if their prospective £300million takeover goes through. A Saudi Public Investment Fund is now expected to buy Newcastle, ending Mike Ashley’s 14-year tenure as the owner at St James’ Park.
According to The Athletic, the Saudi takeover is expected to go through after the state settled a year-long piracy battle with Qatar-based beIN Sports.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been involved in broadcast warfare after beIN Sports’ regional stream was hacked.
beOUTQ, a Saudi-owned duplicate company, had distributed the stream across the region, which cost beIN Sports a fortune.
The duplicate was shut down in 2019, but the Saudis continued to block beIN Sports, causing tensions between the two Middle Eastern states.
But Saudi Arabia have now reversed their block and settled their legal disputes, meaning they will no longer require arbitration to move forward with their Newcastle takeover.
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Governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, will become the club’s chairman if the deal goes through.
He will receive significant backing from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman.
The Saudi consortium would then own 80 per cent of Newcastle upon the takeover’s completion.
British businesswoman Amanda Staveley will split the remaining 20 per cent evenly with the Reuben brothers.
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Significant change is expected at the Magpies with the Saudis at the helm, especially considering their mind-boggling wealth.
They would be the richest owners in world football by a staggering distance, making their Manchester City and PSG counterparts look like minnows.
Newcastle are essentially about to be run by the Gulf state as the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund invests on behalf of its government.
They boast a net worth of £320bn, around 10 times more than Sheikh Mansour at Man City and 50 times more than PSG owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
Mansour, currently the world’s richest football owner, has a net worth of £23.2bn, whilst Al-Khelaifi is eighth with a net worth of £6.5bn.
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Newcastle’s new ownership would also trump the likes of Juventus, Chelsea and Arsenal as they comfortably take their place at the top of the tree.
The impending takeover will fill most Newcastle fans with joy and excitement after years of underachievement and a lack of ambition under Ashley’s watch.
Many might be uncomfortable with the situation, given Saudi Arabia’s harrowing human rights record.
But with the influx of finances the Magpies are set to receive, it seems like change will be a certainty in the coming years, and there is a sense of unpredictability in the air.
That’s an exciting prospect, and a welcome change, for fans currently watching one of England’s biggest clubs fighting relegation.
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