The English newspaper The times dedicated his daily vignette, this Saturday, to the purchase of Newcastle united. Drawing the traditional t-shirt of the ‘magpies’, black stripes on a white background, but turned the stripes into the bars of a prison, which enclosed multiple prisoners inside the t-shirt saudis with hands full of blood. A metaphor that reveals evidence: England is aware of who has taken command of the football club and all that it entails, but at the same time Premier league it has not mattered so much.
The purchase of Newcastle by the Saudi PIF investment fund, led by the heir to the crown of Saudi Arabia, the incredibly rich Mohammed bin salman, has exploded in the UK without many expecting it. Especially since the same offer, from the same investment fund, was rejected by the Premier League itself 18 months ago.
“The league made a firm decision regarding the entities that would have control of Newcastle with this offer,” said Premier Executive Director Richard Masters in August 2020. Now everything has changed and perhaps because of this, as revealed The Guardian, the 19 remaining English league clubs have risen against the purchase of Newcastle, demanding an immediate meeting with the Premier League to obtain further details of the deal, alluding to fears that the league’s prestige will be damaged.
The role of Qatar
Beyond official statements, the reality is different: who unblocked the purchase of Newcastle would have been neither more nor less than Qatar. From the shadows, the Qataris have played a leading role through Be in sports, a government-owned television channel.
🤝 An investment group led by the Public Investment Fund, which also includes PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media, has completed the acquisition of 100% of Newcastle United Limited and Newcastle United Football Club Limited from St. James Holdings Limited.
– Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 7, 2021
The chain has all the broadcasting rights of the Premier League in North Africa and the Middle East. In fact, it is the channel that contributes the most money to the competition. However, Saudi Arabia had a personal affront to BeIn Sports: for four years, the channel was banned in the country by the government, which hacked its signal to broadcast Premier League matches.
It was taken for granted in England a year and a half ago that Qatar’s pressure on the league to prevent the purchase of Newcastle was significant. This past week, by surprise, the Saudi country announced an agreement to lift the veto of BeIn Sports, and that it broadcast without problems. From then on, curiously, the Premier approved the purchase.
Meanwhile, in Newcastle, they do not stop celebrating. The country that rebelled less than a year ago to stop the elitist European Super League is now seeing a toast to Saudi Arabia in the north of the country. A certain contradiction, which does not excessively affect a Newcastle fan away from the ‘world top’, but fed up with its owner to date, the businessman Mike ashley.
After seeing how their previous president wanted them to change the name of their stadium, Saint James’s Park, to baptize it with that of their company, or to star in disastrous sports decisions, the landing of the Saudi fund is nothing less than a lifeboat in Newcastle.
Beyond the hundreds of fans who gathered around the stadium to celebrate the purchase, club legends such as Alan shearer They also expressed their satisfaction: “Come on! We can dare to believe in the future again ”, sentenced the former striker, now a commentator on the BBC, in his first public reaction.
What comes next?
In the coming weeks the new sports management is expected to dismiss the current coach, Steve Bruce, after a settlement of 10 million euros. The Telegraph announced that the club’s plans will involve making an immediate investment in the quarry, close to 60 million euros, and finding a coach and a sports director to lead the project. It would not be surprising to see the first big investments in winter, with Newcastle sunk today in the relegation zone. Perhaps temporarily because, since this week, his history in particular and that of football in general may have changed forever.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.