The saga surrounding the potential takeover of Newcastle United has finally come to an end. On Thursday, the club announced its sale to a consortium backed by Saudi Arabia.
? An investment group led by the Public Investment Fund, and also comprising 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 Premier League also confirmed that the sale had been approved, with “assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club.”
So, why are we writing about this on a sports media website? Because last summer, the takeover seemed close, but was delayed after the Saudi government dragged their feet in regards to piracy complaints centered around the Qatari-owned beIN Sports. The World Trade Organization ruled that beoutQ, a broadcaster pirating the beIN Sports feed in the region, was backed by Saudi Arabia. Weeks later, the country permanently banned beIN Sports, the Premier League’s rightsholder across the Middle East and North Africa.
This seemed to be a main sticking point for the Premier League: the consortium, which included substantial funding from Saudi Arabia, wanted to buy a Premier League team, despite a Premier League rightsholder being banned in Saudi Arabia.
But yesterday, Saudi Arabia removed the ban on beIN Sports, and a day later, the takeover was officially announced and approved. Once diplomatic relations (again, we don’t need to get too far into geopolitical stuff here) between Qatar and Saudi Arabia began to thaw earlier this year, it seemed that the ban on beIN would eventually be retracted, and once that happened, the sale of Newcastle would go through.
It took longer than many would have liked or expected, but the Newcastle takeover has finally been completed. Surely now, there won’t be any more discussion about Newcastle’s new ownership, right?