Premier League rivals of Man Utd and Man City announce major investment plan as takeover stalls
One of Manchester City and Manchester United’s rivals have been making fresh moves to increase their portfolio.
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Newcastle United’s owners, PIF, have already caused waves here in England following their controversial takeover at St James’ Park. The takeover was initially rejected by the Premier League due to ethical issues surrounding the Saudi Arabia royal family, who are the driving force behind the investment group.
Since getting the approval, PIF have funded Newcastle’s quick turnaround, and the club will be heading back to the Champions League after two decades next season following a top four finish.
In the meantime, PIF are making moves back in their home country, purchasing as many as three clubs, including Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr, who are expected to make further high-profile signings this summer. Al Ahli and Al Hilal have also been purchased, with PIF owning 75% of those clubs from this point forward, while non-rpofit organisations own the other 25%.
A PIF statement read: “As part of today’s announcement of the Sports Clubs Investment and Privatization Project, four Saudi clubs – Al Ittihad, Al Ahli, Al Nassr, and Al Hilal – have been transformed into companies, each of which is owned by #PIF and non-profit foundations for each club.
“Existing members of each club will be included in the four foundations. #PIF is working closely with @gsaksa_en [Saudi Ministry of Sport] on all the necessary regulatory procedures to complete the clubs’ transfers to their new structures as newly founded companies alongside non-profit foundations.
“#PIF’s ownership in the clubs’ companies represents 75% in each club, while their respective non-profit foundations hold 25% ownership of each club. The transfer of the four clubs will unleash various commercial opportunities, including investment, partnership and sponsorships across numerous sports.”
The move follows a trend of privatisation of Saudi sports leagues and teams, but it will only fuel concerns over PIF’s use of Newcastle and their alleged sportswashing.